One in Three or Four

by Karenne Wood

Karenne Wood

There are too many of us for you
to believe you are either alone or
responsible. No woman asks for
this. Some are children. Some are
boys. Every one of us should have
been heard. This is for Anna, age 17,
who was then beaten and left to die;
for Nathan, who at 11 admired the
basketball coach; for Rosaline, who
sees in her baby the face of a rapist
and who finds that face difficult to
love; for sisters when soldiers came,
mothers imprisoned among guards,
for aunties grandmas daughters sons,
for one who was tied and one who tried
to scream, one whose husband watched,
one violated time after time, one torn
apart, who called the police who
did not call her back, who went to
the clinic where there were no kits,
who numbed her shame with drugs,
who could not drink enough to forget,
who took her life, who believed she
was an object, who said nothing, who
knew no one was there and that no one
would ever be there. Know this: there
are so many that if we could speak,
our voices might spread like floodwaters
over their boots and swell past security
stations; that if we cried out together
we might finally understand it as an
assault on all people, all creation, and
maybe then there would be justice in
this war to claim yourself, a struggle
mapped all over the flesh of every woman
or child who has known what it is to be
used, as you were, your sacred body.

Last updated November 22, 2022