Under the Whip by Jennifer Lagier

The local city council
unanimously approves acquisition
of a military armored tactical vehicle
for our small, sea-side town.
Tells the community it’s surplus,
won’t cost a cent,
can’t be used for crowd control
during civil disobedience.

I have no trust or belief,
recall assembling
in front of city hall
with other outraged residents
after officers shot an unarmed
mentally ill man to death.
During that protest, we were
surrounded while the police chief
videotaped our faces,
threatened revenge.

When a girl,
I remember dad saying
“If the only tool
in your toolbox
is a hammer,
then every problem
you encounter
looks like a nail.”

Jennifer Lagier has published ten books and in literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Forthcoming books: Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Website: : : Poetry by Jennifer Lagier : :


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