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
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.