“The Message is, take the stairs.”

“The message is, take the stairs.”

When your partner threatens to kill you,
take the stairs.
When the sting of their fist throbs against your cheek,
take the stairs.
When they tear at your belt, and you say stop, and their mouth leaves scars along your chest,
take the stairs.
When you fear that leaving will take more life from you than staying,
take the stairs.
At least here,
in this stairwell,
there are no cameras,
no one to witness and throw your body across TV screens,
no one to argue over games and suspensions,
no one to tell you to leave.
As if your voice has not been caged and twisted,
has not been scrutinized by a million eyes.
Would your answer even be heard?
At least here,
when your body lies limp at the bottom of the stairs,
when your love looks down at all they have done,
you will hold the choice in your hands,
and the news anchor cannot tell you the lesson
is to never
get caught.




When the video of Ray Rice attacking Janay Palmer was found, every news outlet found it necessary to give their take, offer advice and opinions, and publicize her abuse again and again. Fox & Friends treated the issue almost as a joke, and one host commented, “The message is, take the stairs.” This poem is a response to the callousness with which people have treated domestic violence and particularly violence against women in light of this situation.