Vern Fein


When the shit hits the fan:
I  total the car.
Our TV and washing machine go kaput the same week.
Our daughter gets fired from her dream job.
Our grandsons move to Montana.

How long do you have to listen to our woes?

We often say to each other,
as a way to staunch the angst:
“Nobody died. But nobody died.”

That causes us to stop our complaining,
realize that the worst tragedy did not happen to us
as our minds comb through the tangled hair of others’ lives,
indeed some bodies did die.

We have friends who have lost children,
three genetic cancers and a drug overdose.
Did you ever look into the eyes of a mother who lost her child?

We are aware of the world, the terrible storms across the globe.
Biblical earthquakes and famines, the moon turns to blood.

incessant wars, nation against nation

suicide bombings, escalating mass shootings, unfathomable be-headings,

the widening poverty the rich take glee in,

the local teen selling popcorn at the football concession stand
paid with a stray bullet,

media responsibly bringing the bad news
as if it were some perpetual Marathon runner
falling exhausted before our brains every day.

We absorb. Process perpetually
but always end
with our litany of solace:
“Nobody died,”
which is true for us for now.


Vern Fein is a retired special education teacher, Vern Fein has published over one hundred poems and short non-fiction pieces on over forty sites, a few being: *82 Review, The Literary Nest, Gyroscope Review, Courtship of Winds, 500 Miles, and The Write Launch, and has non-fiction pieces in Quail Bell and Adelaide among others and a short story in Duende magazine, Goddard College.