7 to 10 by Gretchen Hill

in domestic violence group 
they tell us 
it takes the average woman 
seven to ten attempts 
to escape 
her abuser
seven to ten
as if we are the hapless 
moons of Jupiter
iron filings hiding in the sand 
can’t fight their return 
to the magnet
the dog staked in the yard 
loves her master 
but cowers before him
she can’t decide a thing 
but hears a whisper 
in the whorled safety 
of her inner ear:
at some point 
you may need 
to chew off your own foot 
and run through the snow 
with what you have left
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