By Dianne Moritz


Teasing the dog
Back behind
The chicken yard
To distract myself
From loneliness,
Stench of the farm,
Uncle’s mongrel seized
My thin wrist and bit.
My cries were smothered
In boozy serves-you-rights,
While blood spilled,
Staining my summer smock.
Aunie brought me milk
Straight from a cow.
I ran to the rusty sink,
Spit it out as Mother’s
Hand slapped me hard.
I raced outside.

The slam of the screen
Still echoes….


She stumbled in,
Reeking, slurring
As fear flamed
In your belly, face
Flushed red and angry.
She slept, finally,
Passed out on the
Bathroom floor,
Small squares marking
Her cheek in the morning.
She said she craved
The flat coolness.

Some years later,
You would understand
When a bed sent you
Spinning, orbiting rooms,
Your head exploding.
You, too, found comfort
On cold, stone floors.
Nothing else could ground you.

About the Author:


Dianne Moritz grew up in Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa.  She studied poetry writing with the Iowa Writer’s Workshop (correspondence classes) in the 1990’s.  She has published many poems for adults in various national poetry journals.
She is a frequent contributor to Highlights children’s magazines.  Her picture book, 1, 2, 3 BY THE SEA, was on the “best book list of 2014” compiled by Bank Street College in New York City.