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Silhouettes
in Red 
Jill Breckenridge

We'd turn in every Silent Witness 
to have one woman back alive, 
but we can't--they're dead. 

Carol, the homemaker; Marie, the 
doctor; Bea, the alcoholic; Dawn, 
the lawyer. Golden shields tell 

their stories: Each woman killed 
by gun or knife or fist, or ways 
more unimaginable. The lonely woman 
run down by her lover in his car, 

the one shot by her dentist husband 
as she held the hands of her two kids, 
the one stabbed in front of the Court- 
house as she went to get an Order for 

Protection. Nothing saved them. 
Not the love of their parents or 
children, not their friends or 
neighbors, not the courts or police. 

These red figures, symbols of horror, 
symbols of hope, help us keep 
our promise to never forget their 
lives, their stories; help us keep 
our pledge to stop this carnage, 

to make this world safe for all women. 
When a room fills with Silent Witnesses, 
all who have been there testify 

that the spirits of these murdered 
women--our dead mothers, sisters, 
and daughters--are there with us. 

Women, throughout the world, who 
can't afford to make red figures 
are given them by ardent volunteers. 

Soon, no borough or county will lack 
their presence, their determination 
to change the world. They stand tall, 

reminding us of the job to be done; 
they march, reminding us that, 
although dead, they will not be 
stilled, they will not be stopped. 

Nor will we be stopped, the living, 
who mourn the loss of women we knew 
and women we didn't know. We carry 

them, our silent partners, as we 
continue to work together in peace, 
to heal and forgive, as we continue 

to spread the fruit and seed of their 
thwarted love and justice throughout 
the universe until this killing ends. 

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