One Billion Rising


I wrote this poem as an exercise for a University of Iowa online writings series. It is dedicated to the survivors of abuse. The global event, One Billion Rising, happens on Valentine’s Day each year. You can learn the simple dance choreographed by Debbie Allen, or just show up in your community gathering and stand against domestic violence. Many women and men around the world dance on February 14th knowing they could be punished or killed for such behavior. I’ll be at Decatur Square in Decatur, Georgia.


Local Resource: Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence


His rifle stands oiled in the gun rack.

He rubs the stock with knobby fingers.

A caress on the cold steel barrel

Quiets the no-stepping-aside anger in his gut.


The white man

Whose Daddy drank Southern Comfort,

Spoke his mind,

Respected his mamma,

And beat his wife.


He unpins the photo of the Confederate flag

Stuck in the back of the gun case.

He and his cousin, Bill, hold the flag,

All smiles, maybe sixteen.


A trophy from their first kill

A deer’s dead eyes

Looking straight into the camera

Its head loped over the side of the truck bed.


Back when the white boy

Whose Daddy drank Southern Comfort,

Spoke his mind,

“Proud of you, son.

You done good.”

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