Before I go, I have something to say

Packing to Leave Again

All up and down the block
this morning,
women are packing to leave.
Getting down the smaller suitcase,
emptying out half the closet
and the upper dresser drawers,
while their husbands sleep,
sleep it off again, spent
from the effort of keeping her in line.

His throat will hurt when he wakes up.
Not as much as her arm,
grasped too tightly, her cheek,
slapped too hard,
the small of her back, those bruises
matching up to the sharp edge
of the counters in the kitchen.

By noon or one o’clock, he’ll have called,
placed his order for dinner,
offered his diffident apology,
slung that silken lasso out
to reel her right back in.

All over the world this morning,
women assess the damage,
take inventory, survey
their chances of escape.
They weigh the horror
of homelessness
against the hollow comforts
of this home.


Published in Outlet, National Council Against Domestic Violence newsletter, and Degenerates: Voices for Peace; used in “Voices Unheard, Sisters Unseen” by Women Makes Movies.

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