Orlando

The darkness of a keening world,
no longer bared to light–
the untipped scales of one man’s hate
prowling through the night.
We reach for answers like a shield
that blocks us from the truth
that wafts away like gunsmoke or
the impermanence of youth.
The nights we sought to quell the sound
of being all alone
were shattered into violence
the minute we found home.

By morning light we heard the news,
awoken into fear
by bitter voices importuning
how could this happen here?
These others, fallen shells of hope,
these others who have sinned,
we kept them far away from us,
the self-righteous, till the end.

Nostalgic for the silence of
indifference or fear,
no glooming peace this morning brings,
no peace at all, for we’re
the judges and the jury
for the ones we left to die
collective in their plaintive call,
the hardest question—“why?”

Why did we leave them in the night,
these vibrant castaways
to suffer judgment all their lives
until one violent man’s choice sways
the opinions of the populace
into graceful mourning sounds
as if we held them close to us,
as if we’d ever found
a reason to see in them
some of our humanity–
no, now it is our turn to cry,
“why’d you take them away from me?”

We’ve torn ourselves asunder
trying to pronounce the blame,
but truth is we’re all culprits
in a crime we’ve yet to name,
that states we’ll sit in silence
through intolerance and bigotry
until we feel absolved through
some new mass tragedy.

Awaken into struggle
do not fear your life’s true pain,
Offer up your sacrifice of loss,
Don’t let it happen again.

[6/13/16]
© K Paige Medina

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