Friday, 6 December 2019


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

* * * * *

"Working the Crisis Hotline" was first published in Stitch (May 1, 2019).

Dianne Moritz writes poetry and picture books for children. Adult essays have been published in The NY Times, LA Times, Woman’s World, Romantic Homes, Sunday Woman, Our Iowa, and others. Online memoir pieces have been in Fewer Than 500. Spillwords, The Drabble, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, and elsewhere. Visit her website: and her author page on

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