Every 3 minutes a woman is beaten every five minutes a woman is raped/every ten minutes a lil girl is molested yet i rode the subway today i sat next to an old man who may have beaten his old wife 3 minutes ago or 3 days/30 years agohe might have sodomized his daughter but i sat there cuz the young men on the train might beat some young women later in the day or tomorrow i might not shut my door fast every 3 minutes it happens some woman’s innocence rushes to her cheeks/pours from her mouth like the betsy wetsy dolls have been torn apart/their mouths menses red & split/every three minutes a shoulder is jammed through plaster and the oven door/ chairs push thru the rib cage/hot water or boiling sperm decorate her body i rode the subway today & bought a paper from a man who might have held his old lady onto a hot pressing iron/i don’t know maybe he catches lil girls in the park & rips open their behinds with steel rods/i can’t decide what he might have done i only know every 3 minutes every 5 minutes every 10 minutes/s i bought the paper looking for the announcement  the discovery/of the dismembered woman’s body/the victims have not all been identified/today they are naked and dead/refuse to testify/one girl out of 10’s not coherent/i took the coffee & spit it up/i found an announcement/not the woman’ bloated body in the river/floating not the child bleeding in the 59th street corridor/not the baby broken on the floor/there is some concern that alleged battered women might start to murder their husbands & lovers with no immediate cause”  i spit up i vomit i am screaming we all have immediate cause every 3 minutes every 5 minutes every 10 minutes every day women’s bodies are found in alleys & bedrooms/at the top of the stairs before i ride the subway/buy a paper/drink coffee/i must know/ have you hurt a woman today did you beat a woman today throw a child across a room are the lil girl’s panties in yr pocket did you hurt a woman today i have to ask these obscene questions the authorities require me to establish immediate cause every three minutes every five minutes every ten minutes every day.

-Ntozake Shange

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