On a two lane rural mountain road

in a car that was compact

great grandpa smiles at my mom

who is seated with me in back.

A child mother at fifteen

cradles baby girl four months old

unaware of the coming danger

a few miles down the road.

In the south it is commonplace

to drink and then to drive

seat belts and infant seats

were laws not yet obliged.

Blissful ignorance is the message

great grandma chooses to send

fate would prove a cruel teacher

just around that next big bend.

The wet pavement curved sharply

but the car slid and went straight

great grandmother intoxicated

could not compensate.

Pandemonium ensued when

over the cliff we did drop

on a hillside in tree branches

we came to a sudden stop.

My tiny head was jarred

and my brain swollen within

“Shaken baby syndrome”

wasn’t heard of way back then.

We all suffered injuries for

the choice great grandma made

but no one’s toll was higher

than the one that I have paid.

Every day I wake and 

while I am happy to be alive

I live with a brain that’s damaged

because she chose to drink and drive.


© 2012, Dani Heart. All rights reserved.

Dani Heart (46 Posts)


  1. Dani, whether this was fact or fiction, it hit me like a blow to the gut. What an awful thing to happen to Anyone, let alone a baby. My mother’s father was a railroad engineer, and a woman was killed when crossing in front of his train. She was totally deaf and couldn’t hear the train coming. He could see that it was going to happen and was powerless to stop it. I never met him; he died when my mom was 16, but she said he never truly got over it.

    Very powerful and moving poem, with a very important message!

  2. Dani Heart (Author)

    Melody thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment it means so much. :)

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