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A List

by Angela Nuzzo

It's just a list of names on a website;
arranged in alphabetical order
with age and state.
Women (mostly women), but some men also,
and children (too, too many children.)
Every state in the nation,
every letter except X and Y.
Ages 4 months to 89 years.
They could have practiced any religion,
come from any walk of life.
Their one thing in common -
what puts them on this list -
is how they died and by whose hands.

There are mothers with their children,
the husband and the wife,
brothers and sisters,
and the names that stand alone.
A woman, age 39, much too young to die;
the three names that come under her – age 9, 8 and 5.
And then there are the 11 names
who, in parentheses, were pregnant.

It's just one list, quickly scanned,
but remembered long days after.
The despair sets in when you notice
there are twelve more lists just like it.
Thirteen years of lists of strangers,
of people I've never known.
But... they could have been neighbors,
they could have been family,
they could have been you or me.


Author's Note: Written for a Domestic Violence Awareness Poetry Slam. Describes the "Remember My Name" lists of victims of domestic violence.

Posted on 10/27/2010
Copyright © 2023 Angela Nuzzo

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by George Hoerner on 10/27/10 at 12:28 PM

It is difficult to forget in SC as the state seems proud to be so high on the list of those states where domestic violence is considered a benefit. Good write lady.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 10/29/10 at 05:16 PM

There is an orderliness to how you describe this list that gives a quiet, stunning contrast to this kind of violence.

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 01/31/11 at 02:04 AM

You catch the tragic irony! Your last line underscores its reality!

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