August 3, 2016
LGBTQ Poets Respond to the Pulse Nightclub Shooting
On Deciding Whether to Go Out
The mirror gives cruel instructions. It hates,
and fears, and hangs itself
on the wall of the bathroom, or the bar, or
maybe it's the reflection.
Either way, something says to shave, to cut
away the brown hairs,
to trim the image of the too curled, and too coiled, and too
revealing of hidden history.
Claves come in from the radio and somehow produce
light. The feet flutter,
honoring the salsa they learned at six. Pausing
in a puddle of water,
when they see themselves in the mirror.
Perhaps it's the light.
It's too light to go out, too glittery, too dazzling, too blatant,
The reflection says blot. It says see,
there is blood.
The glitter is kind. The glitter says come
and dance. But the mirror
stays hanging. And it's only eight, and too
bright, and too likely
to be seen. The radio is safe. The glitter
will get everywhere.
The glitter will not go away; the claves come
back. The feet slip
in the water and hate themselves for failing
in such revealing light.
Upon reflection, it is in fact the image that fears
the hairs, the bar
hates the claves, and only loves the light.
Maybe the bar
is cruel. The salsa is too proud to be hidden,
but too history
to hang around the glitter. It is blatant
the feet do not know if they are coming or going
out. Either way,
the blood dazzles the bathroom, and the bar, and the hairs
glitter in the water.
And, without instructions, somehow, the image
must honor itself.
The radio flutters. The mirror gives pause, but cannot cut out
Robert Américo Esnard was born and raised in the Bronx, New York and studied Linguistics and Social Psychology at Dartmouth College. It is his experience with and study of personal and political semiotics that motivates his work as a poet and a dramatist. Accordingly, he would like to be clear that rainbows are not a surrogate for action.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published weekly by Glass Poetry Press.
All contents © the author.