in a crowd there is a woman, tied to the man by a ring,
and a sickened sense of loyalty.
in the crowd, the man decides, he will teach the woman
not to talk, back, or ever, again
he will teach her with bare knuckles in front of strangers
what it means to listen.
these strangers, other men and other women, use their voices to applaud,
use their voices as a notes of approval.
but no one uses hands, to help or halt.
no one moves feet from ground, no one shouts above bobbing heads, “stop!”
not after the man strikes,
not after the woman hits concrete,
not after the man swings his shoe into her ribs,
not after the woman screams, repeatedly.
and i am a child, a world away,
blissful and untouched.
i am a child, watching, helpless,
as sister, a sister, my sister — our sister
loses faith, loses, loses,
with cupped hands, open as if to beg,
open to protect.
but no one is there to grab those palms.
no one has been. no one will be.
this is terror, centuries deep.
when will we give up this darkness?
(this was inspired by a video i had the misfortune of watching the other day in which a man beats the living shit out of his wife in the middle of a huge, bustling group of people, who just allow it to happen. the video was not recorded in the united states, it appeared to be in africa. regardless of location, this is still a human being, this is a woman like the women you know and love. i had an incredible physical, visceral reaction to the video, which helped remind me that violence against women is still prominent, even here, in my country. it makes me ill to think such violence exists and continues to be perpetuated. it is my wish to help bring equality to the world of people. one day, i hope videos like this are simply a memory, moments of hate recorded for the purpose of never being repeated. the photo is a bird of paradise from my backyard. i hope everyone knows the paradise of freedom, one day.)