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Sunday, June 03, 2018


by Pamela L. Sumners

'Black lives don't matter,' lawyer says after jury awards $4 in police killing. —CNN, June 1, 2018. According to Lawyer John M. Phillips, Greg Hill “opened and closed his garage door deescalating the situation. Police shot through his closed garage door.” —CBS, June 1, 2018. Photo at the gofundme designed to provide for Greg Hill’s children.

Let me be the curator on the day
In the long hot summer
When all hell breaks loose.
Someone needs to be in charge.

Ferguson!  Hands up or I’ll shoot.
Don’t think I won’t do it, either.
Charleston!  Stop crying.
You put that thing down right now
Or I’ll give you something to cry about.

San Bernardino, you’re in time out.
Go to your mat.  Baton Rouge!
Redstick—go get me your switch.
Orlando, I told you you’d get burned
If you touched that.  I told you
A burned child dreads the fire.

All of you!  Back up.  Get down.
Show of hands.  Show me your hands.
Keep everything where I can see it.
Dallas—Dallas, now what did I tell you
About parade routes and snipers?

Pay attention.  Listen.  Settle down,
All of you.  Use your indoor voice
But use your words.  You have to
Use your words.  Meantime, what
We need—are you listening to me?
is a little
here . . .

Pamela L. Sumners is a civil rights and constitutional lawyer who writes poems. She lives in St. Louis with her wife, teenage kid, several dogs, and unwanted mice.