In the moment
          forty-nine bodies
                    were left to bleed out,
                              I realized that I too was a target.

                                        Passable in the streets, a deviant beneath the sheets.

                                                  My love is my identifier, but tattoo me with your hate,
                                        barrage me with pointed words,
                              homophobia is collateral damage.

                    My breath sticks between the life in my lungs
          and the forty-nine heartbeats
pulsing through me.
          A reminder that I am the one left breathing.
                    My thoughts become inexpressible as their images
                              are paraded before me. A million voices fall
                                        silent to those who can never speak again.

                              You forced us to fear yet command us to heal.
                    But I can’t move on when
          my wounds are still bleeding,
when gunfire rings in my ears,
          when my scars are too raw
                    to be called scars.
                              You took our lives.
                                        You took our victory.
                                        of a