Tag Archives: Crime victims

Courage at Twilight: Vehicle Burglary

Entering the garage from the house on my way to work, the sky still dark, I saw the garage door open, and the doors of the cars closed but not latched shut.  I knew instantly what had happened, and my heart sank into my stomach.  Inside the cars, the center console lids were open and the console contents scattered on the seats.  After the chili chocolate party at church, mom had led the way into the house, carrying the leftover chocolate cake, followed by me and Dad; I had carried the crock pot.  Dad and I turned off the garage light, but we forgot to lower the garage door.  And our cars had been burglarized in the night.  The burglar left the car doors unlatched to avoid the noise of shutting them.  They knew what they were doing—not their first burglary.  As a city attorney, I am well aware of how many hundreds of cars are burglarized in my town every year, always by drug addicts looking to finance their next fix—they care about little else.  As a rule, I always lower the garage door, and I always lock my car, even in the garage.  But this time I was lazy and neglectful, and paid the price.  I checked both cars, and nothing of importance was missing, because we kept nothing of importance in our cars.  And the contents of the garage were all accounted for.  But I felt so angry at this person who tried to take from us something that was not theirs, that entered our personal space, the interior of our cars, uninvited.  I felt violated and vulnerable.  I felt sick at my simple but stupid mistake, which had allowed a neighborhood troller to skulk into the sanctity of our home.  We will never make that mistake again.  Fortunately, we had locked the door into the house.  Fortunately, we kept nothing valuable in the cars.  Fortunately, the burglar did no damage to the cars and stole nothing from the garage.  The only important item missing was my library card.  But I still feel angry.

(Image above by TheDigitalWay from Pixabay.)

Color Me

20160527_105654

How does one write a poem about domestic violence without slipping into shallow prose, or, more importantly, without trivializing a horrifying trauma.  As a municipal attorney, I have helped hold DV perpetrators accountable for 23 years.  I have spoken with the women, seen their fear, heard their terror.  I have seen the photographs of bruises, heard the sobbing screams in 911 recordings, and watched the abused tremble on the witness stand.  I have watched the “bad guys” smirk and win acquittals from ignorant or misogynist juries.  How I admire the courage victims have to become survivors, to stand tall and to say “Never again!”  I wrote this poem for victims of domestic violence, though the poem is by no means a celebration or victory song.  The poem attempts to express both the horror and the hope of someone caught, for now, in the twisted power and control dynamics of domestic violence.  To all of them, I say: have courage; have hope.

COLOR ME

blue—royal
blue—navy
purple almost to black
witness
Van Gogh starry nights:
beautiful
but
not here
where pale skin
should be

red lightning bolts
in white orb

two weeks
maybe three
until
I can pretend
it did not happen
no one knows

dark pigments
you paint on pale canvass
private studio
still life model undressed

would you plied
with greens and yellows,
orange and sky-blue

pinpoint pupils
in a Saint-Rémy sky