Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, May 10, 2024


by William Aarnes

Imagine yourself old enough

to have survived Operations

Cast Lead and Protective Edge.


Imagine a fellow refugee

            videoing flyers drifting

down from a blue sky,


then focusing on you

            as you pick up a leaflet

                        at once a plea for news


about pictured hostages

            and an implicit warning

                        that soon your current shelter


will be demolished by bombs.

Imagine knowing the world

can see what’s happening.


Imagine knowing the world

keeps failing to react.

Imagine your dulled terror,  


your bewildered loyalty,

your desperate rage.

Imagine your aimless trek.


Imagine your imagining

there’s somewhere to go

where the flyers


won’t drift down again

to tell you to keep moving.

Imagine the leaflet


as one of the keepsakes

            that will give purpose

to your children’s lives.   

William Aarnes lives in Manhattan.  For perspective he recommends Norman C. Finkelstein's Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom.