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Monday, May 03, 2021


by Peter Witt

A judicial inquiry into city officials’ role in the police chokehold death of Eric Garner—and what his family has described as a subsequent cover-up—is slated to begin in mid-July, a Manhattan judge said Tuesday… Gwen Carr and Elisha Flagg-Garner, Garner’s mother and sister, joined by a group of racial justice advocates, filed a petition in 2019 seeking a judicial inquiry into Garner’s death. —The New York Daily News, April 20, 2021. 

We reap what we sow,
more than we know,
breathe in the wonder
of all things that grow,
from children to forests,
from hummingbirds to toads.

In an instant of feckless harm
we raise the alarm that all
things, even mighty or small,
can be recklessly snuffed out,
trampled in the woods,
destroyed by human hands,
ignored by an uncaring heart.

Eric dared to sell cigarettes
on the street, when a cop
on his beat, took him down
off his feet, his life incomplete,
a gentleman who once
planted flowers that
he no longer can smell,
no longer can breathe,
no longer can breathe.

Author's Note: Eric Garner was a horticulturist at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation before quitting for health reasons.

Peter Witt is a retired university professor living in Texas.