Under Arrest

Detroit Riots in 1967. Police in a squad car guard a man under arrest. As looting and unrest spread, arrests mounted. In total, police arrested 7,231 people.

It means stand still. It means
stay just as sweet as you are
and where you are and don’t do
anything you were doing
before or might have planned
to do or be anywhere
else you might have in mind
and you’re wrong and have lost your chance
to keep your hands to yourself
as long as it may please
the court or its officers
who have their eyes on you
and all yours. It means your freedom
of speech may now be turned
around and up against you,
so it’s time to specialize
in the right to remain silent
except for those natural,
involuntary, wordless,
exclamatory, heartfelt
murmurs from behind
your tongue and a locked door
where you must take your turn
for the worse and explain yourself
to people who don’t know
you any better than you.

—David Wagoner