It’s Not . . .

It’s not living on the street,
shut out from shelter.
It’s not hunger—satiety denied
on desert days of need.

It’s self-suspicion,
doubts dogging every action,
feeling responsible for a ruptured family;

watching a mother’s partitioned mind
demolish childhood hopes, then
unraveling knitted scars
with her every tantrum.

It’s a first-world problem that sears.

Dorothy DiRienzi has published in Poetry Northwest, The Mid-America Poetry Review, PassagerMO: Writings from the River, SLAB, Stone’s Throw, Slant, Front Range, Naugatuck River Review, Sow’s Ear, Southwest American Poetry, Grey Matter, and Write On Downtown. Fellow at Norcroft, 2002; awards at the Tucson Poetry Festival, 2005, 2010; semifinalist for Black Lawrence Press poetry prize, 2008. With an M.F.A. from ASU, Dot retired from editor/publisher of the University Policy Manuals Group at ASU. She previously worked for 38 years as an editor and indexer of medical textbook titles at Lea & Febiger Publishers and J. B. Lippincott in Philadelphia, PA.

Photograph by Kurt Viers.