Villanelle: Joint Enterprise

The courts prejudge and penalise,
applying law, not playing fair,
convicting of ‘joint enterprise’
Two words that catch and criminalise
the skin you’re in, the clothes you wear,
they prejudge and they penalise
You’re guilty in the system’s eyes
and though they know you were elsewhere
convict you of ‘joint enterprise’
They see your blackness and surmise
you worked as one, a gang affair,
the courts prejudge and penalise
A mother prays and father cries,
another young one in the snare,
convicted of ‘joint enterprise’
Collective guilt’s where justice dies,
some scalps are needed – take your share
The courts prejudge and penalise,
convictions for ‘joint enterprise’

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