In October, the wooden women come out.
Men haul them up from the basement, lay their sheet-wrapped bodies on the floor. Handles on their hips to make them easier for the men to move, carry away. They are red and faceless, their stories stapled to their chests. Each one, a woman killed by an intimate partner in Allegheny County. Three have names. Two are identified only by their ages.
The women appear on the fifth anniversary of my freedom, show me what I could have been – a board, carved and painted the color of blood.
A sign next to them says, “Stop being a victim” and lists a hotline number. If I had known then what I was living with, I still wouldn’t have called.
Rachel Roupp is a poet and editor from the mountains of Pennsylvania. Her poetry has appeared in Crab Fat Magazine, Chantwood Magazine, Honey & Lime, Rust + Moth, and Rag Queen Periodical, where she served as the Social Media Coordinator. She just wants Dolly Parton to be proud of her.