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South Fork Poetry: ‘Working the Crisis Hotline’

Wed, 04/06/2022 - 16:34

Down by the river
in cramped quarters, 
telephones ring nonstop.  
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, she says.
All night long, she cares and 
consoles, her heart

racing, as perspiration
blurs worn referral cards.
During a brief respite, 
she glances out a dark window, 

watches the roiling water, 
imagines her body 
floating downstream.
At shift's end she exits, running . . . running.

Dianne Moritz is a children's book author who lives in North Sea. 

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