Raechyl Robinson e-mailed her poem with a request to publish it in spite of the fact that she figured it was too long for a letter.
Poetry, I thought. We don't publish poetry. Unless...
So I invite you to read Raechyl Robinson's verse here:
Trapped in an open cage she suffers silently.
Searching desperately for a way out,
Dying to be free.
Too terrified to tell anyone, she masks her daily pain.
Embarrased beyond belief; too proud. Too ashamed.
MAC, Avon or Mary Kay - which one ...
will best conceal?
Evidence of her secret life, proof of her ordeal.
''Why don't you just leave him?''
''Why would you stay?''
''I can't continue to be your friend, if you choose to live this way''
Long sleeves in the summertime
Long hair covering one eye
Fears of isolation haunt her thoughts,
It's easier to lie.
"Everything is fine''
"I love him so much''
"This bruise indicates my clumsiness, not his angry touch"
So silently she suffers, trapped in an open cage.
Never accountable for his actions, his abuse, his rage.
So her tears will fall indefinitely, but only in the solitude of the night.
And the abuse will remain unadmitted because her lips are sealed with fright. (end ital)
At the bottom of the poem were the words "OCTOBER is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Help Break the Cycle."
"The poem came easily," Robinson wrote in a follow-up e-mail, "and is meant for everyone -- but especially those (who) are suffering silently. And to the well meaning friends (who) try to control the situation, and the friends who feel like giving up on victims of domestic violence because of their own feelings of helplessness that may easily manifest into anger and frustration."
Robinson's contribution may help to break a cycle that is still with us. Four years ago, Diane Ingle of the city's Health and Human Services Department wrote that Anchorage police respond to more than 300 domestic violence calls a month, many involving children. According to the mayor's office, those calls increased to more than 400 a month in 2011.
Robinson needn't have worried about length. She wrote 160 words, leaving 15 to spare under the 175-word letters limit. With her permission, I'll use those.
Strong hands in the shelter of home are loving and trustworthy. Help build that cycle.
-- Frank Gerjevic