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Sunday, August 30, 2020



by Margaret Rozga

As Jacob Blake was freed from handcuffs in the hospital, the Kenosha police union said Friday that Blake put an officer in a headlock moments before being shot in the back. Since Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot seven times in the back by a White officer, local officials have not discussed many details citing the ongoing investigation led by state investigators.
On Friday, the Kenosha Professional Police Association took issue with the public narrative, saying that he confronted officers, put an officer in a headlock and carried a knife that he refused to drop when ordered to by police, the union said. For Blake's attorneys, the police union's narrative is merely a tactic to justify the officers' actions. "I think it's the common strategy that police departments use in these type of circumstances. It's always trying to justify murder for misdemeanors," attorney B'Ivory LaMarr told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Friday. —CNN, August 29, 2020

Who made the decision to shackle him?
Who shackled him?
Who is the nurse who cares for him shackled?
Who is the doctor who does the surgery? Surgeries?
Was he shackled during surgery?

They did not say shackle. They said restrained.

What words minimize, hide, disguise, mask:
who uses words like this?
What words for this?

His father said handcuffed, handcuffed to the bed.
His father’s words leave the bedside, leave
the hospital, hit the air, hit the air waves,
hit the heart, cry out for release, cry for justice,
words that restrain other words, words that free.

Still to be told:
the nurse’s story, the nurses’ stories
the doctor’s,  the doctors’.

The decider, the deciders, hold a press conference,
are pressed. Pressed, they leave. They leave questions
opening like unacknowledged wounds,
lingering like ghosts of the dead they cannot shackle.

Margaret Rozga is the current Wisconsin Poet Laureate.  She writes poems from her ongoing concern for social justice.