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Working The Crisis Hotline

written by: Dianne Moritz


Down by the river
in cramped quarters,
telephones ring non-stop.
Young people, women

mostly, quickly pick up.
Voices cry out: Help me!
I’m too high; Someone
followed me; And…

Then he raped me.
This new recruit,
sensitive as bruised skin
calmly tries on comfort:

Stay cool. Talk to me.
Breathe, just breathe, I say.
All night long, I care,
console, my heart

racing, as perspiration
blurs worn referral cards.
During a brief silence,
I glance out a dark window,

see the boiling water,
imagine my body
floating downstream.
At shift’s end I exit, running...running.

Dianne Moritz

Dianne Moritz

Dianne taught grades K-3 in Los Angeles for many years. She now writes poetry and picture books for kids. Her latest, HEY, LITTLE BEACHCOMBER, was released in Nov. 2019 from Big Belly Book Co. She is a frequent contributor to the Highlights magazines.
Dianne Moritz

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