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A Theory of Violence

—after New Delhi, after Steubenville

Under the surface of this winter lake,
I can still hear him say you're on thin ice
now,
 my heel grabbed, dragged into the opaque
murk of moments—woman raped on a bus;

girl plunged into oblivion, taken
on a tour of coaches' homes, local bars,
backseats of cars, the sour godforsaken
expression on each classmate's face; the dark,

the common route home, faint footfalls behind.
How many times have I bloodied my fist
against this frozen expanse to remind
myself there is another side, hope-kissed,

full of breath? I howl. The water begs, drown,
its hand pressing tight, muffling every sound.

Copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Perrine. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Perrine. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Jennifer Perrine

by this poet

poem
This is how clay becomes flesh: dirt and grit
clumping with saliva, bits of sand wedged

between gum and tooth. In my mother’s mouth:
her palate alive with humus: a crush

of chalk threading down her throat: and somewhere
deep within her gut: a Galatea,

milk white, translucent: a creature she’ll bring
together