Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023


by Melanie Choukas-Bradley

Blood stains and a small section of police tape show the scene where multiple people were injured following an overnight shooting at the Dior Bar & Lounge in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. Credit: Michael Johnson/AP

Gather round the water cooler
For the latest on the latest mass shooting
How many dead, how many critical
Let’s put our heads together and get the facts
Where the wounded hid, how many rounds
What the cops did and didn’t do
The victims have our thoughts and prayers
They have our attention
We are talking about it, talking and talking
Until talk turns to the next one
Melanie Choukas-Bradley is a naturalist and award-winning author of seven nature books, including City of Trees, A Year in Rock Creek Park, Finding Solace at Theodore Roosevelt Island, and The Joy of Forest Bathing. She began writing poetry during the pandemic and has had many poems published by Beate Sigriddaughter’s Writing in a Woman’s Voice. The site has featured several of her poems during the past year, including “How to Silence a Woman,” and “If I have loved you,” both of which won “Moon Prizes.” Melanie grew up in Vermont wandering the woods and fields and has never stopped wandering.  She leads nature and history field trips for Smithsonian Associates, the US Botanic Garden, the Nature Conservancy, Politics & Prose Bookstore, and many other organizations in the Washington, DC area.