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A Theory of Violence

By Jennifer Perrine

-- after New Delhi, after Steubenville

Under the surface of this winter lake,
I can still hear him say you're on thin ice
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.

Added: Wednesday, July 9, 2014  /  Used with permission.
Jennifer Perrine
Photo by Justin Huck.

Jennifer  Perrine  is  the  author  of three  books  of  poetry:  No  Confession, No  Mass (University of Nebraska Press, 2015); In  the  Human  Zoo (University of Utah Press, 2011);  and  The  Body  Is  No  Machine (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2007).  Perrine’s poetry  and  fiction  appears  in  PleiadesCrazyhorseSalt  Hill Literal Latte,  and  Cream  City  Review,  as  well  as  in  Broadsided  Press’  special folio, “Bearing Arms: Responding to Guns in American Culture.” Honors include  the  2017  K.  Margaret  Grossman  Fiction  Award,  the  2016 Publishing  Triangle  Audre  Lorde  Award,  and  the  2015  Bisexual  Book Award for Poetry. For more information, visit Jennifer's website.

Other poems by this author