Two Women a Week

by Patricia Ace

'Police in England and Wales receive a domestic violence call every minute, thousands of children witness incidents every day, and two women are killed by a partner or former lover every week.'
The Guardian, 19 February 2004.

brought to their knees
throw in the towel
give up the ghost
counted out

two mothers, two daughters
two lovers, two workers
two women who serve you
in shops and in offices
two women who walk into doors
trip on the stairs
slip in the shower
two women you pass on the street
two women a week

leaving how many children
to cringe in their beds
standing in black
as their universe slides
down a deep dark hole?

how many children taken away
knowing Daddy killed Mummy
because she was bad
too late, too slow, too weak?
two women a week

Mummy’s eyes black
with blueberry bruises
her split lip a red grape
as she stoops down to kiss you
her tender body flinching
from the cuddles you crave

how many lives haunted
by slaps, shouts and punches
thuds, bumps and bangs