The Call

By Dena Hill
9th grade, Parkway Center City Middle College, PA

With lines from "Domestic Abuse in Russia" by Nick Schifrin and Zach Fannin, a Pulitzer Center reporting project


And you say call us when he kills you
But she's already dead
Everyday pain – heartache – that's what she dreads
You said "hide identity"
Is that supposed to give her a sense of security
He has reported her as a missing person
But she's hidden in plain sight
Black and blue all on her skin and you tell her that's alright
Dragged by the hair across the floor
That's how he shows his love and it's him she adores
So you say call us when he kills you
But she's already dead
If you had a man you were very lucky no matter what he did to you
But she doesn't want to end up as his temporary tool kit
Something he can plunge and pull just for his benefit
Seeing her own blood in his hands
From the man she loves no one will understand
20 blows to the head
And you say call us when he kills you
But she's already dead
Pain and affliction
From body to soul – she's up for eviction
In Russia a woman is killed due to domestic violence every 40 minutes
Their lives should not be linked to those horrible statistics
She said my husband is killing me
And you insisted on saying call us when he kills you
Little did you know
She was already dead.


Dena Hill

Dena Hill is a freshman at Parkway Center City Middle College and is currently working on her high school diploma in addition to an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts. As a hardworking scholar, she manages to find time for schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and poetry. Like many other students at her school, Dena is an active member in the Peace and Social Justice Club at her school where they fight and protest against gun violence.

Read more winning entries from the 2018 Fighting Words Poetry Contest