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  • Writer's pictureSusan Edsall


Twenty eight years ago, on June 23, 1993, Lorena Bobbitt had had enough. Having endured her husband's rape and abuse for four years, she used an 8-inch carving knife to cut off his penis, then left in her car and threw the severed appendage into a field.

I admire her nerve.

To commemorate that day, this poem by Lucille Clifton. I laugh every time I read it.


Woman cuts off husband’s penis,

later throws it from car window.

— News Report

it lay in my palm soft and trembled

as a new bird and i thought about

authority and how it always insisted

on itself, how it was master

of the man, how it measured him, never

was ignored or denied, and how it promised

there would be sweetness if it was obeyed

just like the saints do, like the angels

and i opened the window and held out my

uncupped hand; i swear to god

i thought it could fly


About Susan Edsall

Writing is how I make my way through the thicket of what we’ve made of this planet we’re on. It takes me a long time and lots of words. Social media mystifies me. How do so many people have so much to say, so quickly, and with such resolute certainty? Read more about Susan >




“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon.”

E.M. Forster

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