Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Friday, November 10, 2023


by Katherine West

detail of the poster for the film Apocalypse Now

I stand with my back to winter 
as if I could hold off blizzards 
with force of will alone 

I am the last dam without a crack 
Water trickles over my shoulders 
Flood whispers in my ears 

I am rain following fire 
tracking its crackle and whoosh 
lowering like a raptor after prey 

I am the final embrace before death 
grabs you by the ankles 
leaving only your soul in my arms 

I am the last mother
carrying a million children on my back 
swimming for safety against the tide 

I am the last dancer, the last poet
the last artist using my own blood 
to paint the last sunset 

I am the last person on Earth 
I have broken all mirrors, all my brothers 
are only songs

Katherine West lives in Southwest New Mexico, near Silver City. She has written three collections of poetry: The Bone Train, Scimitar Dreams, and  Riddle, as well as one novel, Lion Tamer. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Writing in a Woman's Voice, Lalitamba, Bombay Gin, The New Verse News, Tanka Journal, Splash!, Eucalypt, Writers Resist, Feminine Collective, Southwest Word Fiesta, and The Silver City AnthologyThe New Verse News nominated her poem “And Then the Sky” for a Pushcart Prize in 2019. In addition she has had poetry appear as part of art exhibitions at the Light Art Space gallery in Silver City, New Mexico, the Windsor Museum in Windsor, Colorado, and the Tombaugh Gallery in Las Cruces, New Mexico.