Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, February 08, 2023


by Katherine Shehadeh

An independent autopsy showed Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran—the activist killed last month near the site of Atlanta’s planned public safety training center—was shot by police at least 13 times, attorneys for the family said… They and Teran’s family are calling on the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to release more information about the incident, which they called “the first time any environmental activist in the United States has been killed by the government.” …There is no body camera footage of the shooting. State troopers are generally not equipped with cameras. —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 4, 2023

On Sunday, I brought home a pack of Valentines cards
I bought at the dollar store. SUPER MARIO—
WHY NOT PAW PATROL! he interrogated
through the gaps of his baby teeth.
On Monday, I read about a mother whose child called 
Tortuguita (little turtle) was shot to death by police
while defending trees in a Georgia forest. They said they didn’t
have body cameras.
On Tuesday, I strap my son into his car seat, he explains
they don’t dance in Spanish, only sing
las vocales. SA SE SI SO SU, SA SE SI SO SU he repeats
as I use my phone to capture the moment.
On Wednesday, I quell a teacher’s fears about his breathing
with news of his upcoming surgery, interrupted by a uniformed
police officer who says an alarm was triggered. I find my son
crouched behind the cubbies, questioning why the police has a gun.
On Thursday, I consider picking him up early, in case the alarm
was an omen, but I have to go to the dentist, who between
stuffing cotton in my mouth reassures me that in his country
they don’t do so much to protect us.

On Friday, I open the news and see pictures of the body-

worn cameras, donned by some police officers in the forest 

where Tortuguita was killed.

On Saturday, I sit beneath our banyan tree while he bundles up
wood for a make-believe campfire, singing las vocales. Still
in his sapphire monster truck underwear, he stops
to grin at me, twirling a stick like a baton.
On Sunday, he discovers YouTube videos of other people
playing Super Mario. Two turtle shells shoot across the screen.
Waving the remote, he laments—AH! I died

Katherine Shehadeh is a poet, artist & attorney, who resides with her family in Miami, Florida. Her recent poetry appears or is forthcoming in Drunk Monkeys, Beechwood Review, Saw Palm, and others. Find her on Twitter (for now!) @your_mominlaw or Instagram @katherinesarts.