Two poems by Carrie Moniz

Year Five of Your Seven-Year Sentence, Security

A little boy shuffles
toward a state-employed German Shepherd.

His mother shrieks in Spanish. He runs for her legs,
the fear in her voice. The dog finds dope
in the panties of a pregnant woman.

Strangers shiver on an icy bench. Razor wire

rings with sparrows. Guards, you once wrote,
order yard detail to rake down the nests.
May these be empty, then. Soon,

the sun will rise and chase life underground. For now it’s dark,
save for the overhead bulb, dim and flickering with insects.


Night ripens in the bathroom window. A mason jar
rancid with ginger torches masks the blacking
pumpkin in the alley dumpster. A dark child kneels

in a dress and unwraps a caterpillar
too soon. Leaves it, bloated,
on the sill, picks lint and stones

from her toes. Inside, we pedal backward toward
our waiting scars, our dresses, our dark
unchildrened wombs.

Carrie Moniz is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, and currently resides in San Diego, California. She is inspired by the natural world, singer/songwriters, and her correspondences with inmates throughout California and Arizona. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Yellow Medicine Review, Third Wednesday, Suisun Valley Review, and Charlotte: A Journal of Literature and Art. She is a senior editor for The California Journal of Poetics.