March 27, 2022

“I Hear Yes,” Poetry by Vera West

“I Hear Yes,” Poetry by Vera West

i hear “yes”

I jokingly have asked my husband: “Do you feel like I’m a gallon of milk you got home only to find out it’s expired?” He knows I’m referring to how I used to be pretty but now feel curdled. He laughs—not a real laugh but a confused nervous one I’ve forced out of him by knowing he loves me and asking him a ridiculous question like that anyway. You might focus on the fact that he did in fact laugh—coerced or not—but what you should really be focusing on is how only a sad insecure person hiding behind pain in humor would make that joke in the first place. It says so much and for the record, he always answers no but I always hear yes.


affect and effect 

No one warns you 

that in order to make it out, 

you’ll be consumed by the shit storm; 

the rain dries, 

the clouds clear, 

but you’re still running, 

still desperately cutting  

through the dense foliage,  

those poisonous circumstances 

hindering your path. 

It’s been so hard, for so long, 

you don’t recognize Peace; 

Chaos has saturated you 

until it’s all you feel 

and any other sensation  

must be a malicious trick. 

But then, 

suddenly it all stops; 

opportunities surround you, 

and you realize  

all the joys you’ve been chasing 

you’ve already caught 

and you realize 

you’ve not only made it out, 

you’ve thrived. 


the dead us 


don’t just  

grieve for the  

dead dear to us, 

we grieve for the dead us

that innocence shed to survive,  

and once on the other side 

we suddenly feel everything 

we couldn’t bear 

to feel 



to feel 

we couldn’t bear. 

we suddenly feel everything 

and once on the other side, 

that innocent shed to survive, 

we grieve the dead us

dead dear to us,  

we don’t just grieve. 


After a messy divorce from music, West fell into a torrid love affair with writing. They’ve been somewhat happily married since 2013 when her first novel was published in partnership with Schuler’s Books & Music Chapbook Press. West graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor’s of Art in Writing in 2011 with an emphasis on fiction and poetry. Since then, West has self-published a handful of novels and three collections of poems that tackle themes of love, redemption, cultural identity, social issues, and the afterlife. West resides in Michigan with her family and can often be found reheating the tea she forgot she made or reading a good book.

You can find more of her work on her linktree site, on Twitter and our Residents page.

Fictional Cafe

#adversity#grief#poetry#vera west
  • Steve Brayton says:

    Yes, these poems speak to me, especially the first.

  • Tracy says:

    Really wonderful, moving work. Thank you!

  • Priscilla says:

    Your poems remind me to be Alive, Vulnerable, and Write. Thank you!

  • EffectedButterfly says:

    Damn!!! Touching on The ghost life, the life that could have been but didn’t happen for one reason or another. I love it!! Definitely have grieved my innocence stolen by a comment or action of myself or another. In the end I am happy that I am who I am now but the growth to get here was crazy.

  • Lynne says:

    I’m loving this road of self examination this prose and poem are taking me on. Your mind travels back over ones existence while absorbing Vera’s words. I was reading and reflecting almost simultaneously. Love you Vera ❤

    • Mike Rochester says:

      Yes, I love the honesty and vulnerability of Vera’s self-examination in her poetry! Thanks for reading, Lynne.

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