To the victims of the Pulse Shooting in Orlando, FL on June 12, 2016.

Yesterday I walked with you down that beaten asphalt path,
my brother-sister-neighbor-father-mother-friend,
because you were brave and you were you, the way God loved you.

You were a warrior — you fought for us, for us who had no voice —
and you were and are and forevermore will be with us
in our hearts, in our minds, in our tears, in our songs,
in our voice-cracking-sobbing-breaking whispers because

sometimes courage is written in bloodstains.
Sometimes fear is written with bullets.

Sometimes prayers feel so weak,
running down saline rivers to a crumpled-up whimper:
“Lord, in Your mercy.”

You and I are not so different, after all, it could have been
any of us in that bar, pierced by metal and darkness,
drenched by hatred and fear, sapped dry by despair and judgment —
but, oh dear God, why did it have to be you,

My brother-sister-neighbor-father-mother-friend?
Someone’s hope, someone’s love,
your hope, your love,
God’s precious beloved.

And though your sanctuary looked a bit different than mine,
perhaps Jesus was in the wine there too. Where mercy ran dirtier,
compassion bled harder, and love — a braver kind of love —
gave everything it had.

So here I am, trembling beneath the weight of grief,
for you, for us, for all of us. Because you were courageous and you
were you, fighting to exist as
a pop of color in a black-and-white cage,
a glittering lyric in an oppressive drone,
a flutter of warmth in a cold and dark world.

But — Lord, have mercy! — you became that spark!
igniting, self-spending, heaven itself rending
and weeping with you as that unimaginative canvas
was striped crimson with your last breath.

If only our tears could water your grave with the peace you deserve,
where we’d finish the work
with orange for healing,
yellow for sunlight,
green for nature,
blue for harmony,
and violet for spirit
to honor the red-coursing life you gave — God, don’t let it be in vain —

Because you dreamed of a world with no more floods,
where love truly wins,
and hate has no place,
and you, my brother-sister-neighbor-father-mother-friend,
could live and laugh and share with us on Earth
and see God while I hold your hand.

But now, heaven weeps.
The rain has begun, and the Ark is nowhere to be found.

Yet I am you and you are I and we are us,
praying pleading weeping sobbing hurting cracked and broken
for a future you would be Proud of.

Click here if you’d like to donate to Equality Florida’s campaign for the victims of the Pulse Shooting.


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