For many, their families had no idea
Where they had gone that night,
No idea their kids were gay.
They were Latino, and in most
Latino families, these things
Are seldom spoken of,
Avoided— though parents may suspect.

So when the phone call came,
Early on Sunday morning,
She finally had confirmation
That her son was gay—
And that he was dead,
His corpse waiting at the hospital,
Blood still oozing from a dozen holes.

She might have procrastinated
In telling her husband,
Hoping to wait until
She had prepared him breakfast,
But now the meal was uncooked yet burned.
Her sobbing concentrated tightly
In the empty, constricting room.

Whatever had buttressed her heart
Was now forever torn to pieces,
Bleeding on the kitchen floor—
Her child, her youngest boy,
Forever gone. She kept thinking
Of his radiant smile, his dark wavy hair
Ephemeral as a shadow in her mind.

Her scream was massive,
Eight feet tall it seemed,
Waking all within the house
From dreams that disappeared
As quickly as the boy’s breath had ceased.
She screamed again, yet could not hear,
Words decimated before they reached the tongue.

How strange, the profundity of disappearance,
The unexpected destruction of something beautiful,
Precious to her heart and soul—
Tragedy she had been unable
To foretell or prevent. She knew
In places she could never enter
That she would blame herself.

As yet she could not fathom this finality,
The length of grief… the weight
Of empty sadness, filled with loss.
Her face now already writhed,
Tortured surface streaked with tears
That would last for days and years.
And then the coldest, cruelest fear of all—

Where was God in all of this?
What scene of demonic hatred
Had crept into the club
To kill her baby— with purpose,
Planning, determination—
And God had stood there
Passively, if God was there at all.


3 thoughts on “Orlando

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