Eulogy for the Eighth Victim

We have prayers and tears and an ache
of the heart for all hopes lost
for every one
who is grieving Alton
and Philandro, Brent and Michael,
Patrick, Michael and Lorne,

and a prayer for the eighth victim,
the one not everyone knows,
whose name was
community policing.

Community policing gets out of the car,
and starts walking a beat.
She plays basketball with the kids.
He sits in Adult Ed in the evening
to learn a new language
rather than expecting English.

She listens at the PTA
for new initiatives
and doesn’t just offer Narcan programs.

He hangs at the library, the Boys and Girls,
the block party and the pool.

But racism didn’t like the eighth victim,
because it wants
fear to turn to hate — not love,
not understanding, not cooperation.

Racism always paints a target
on the eighth victim,
the one not everyone knows,
whose name was Community Policing …

or maybe Lazarus.

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