August 3, 2016

LGBTQ Poets Respond to the Pulse Nightclub Shooting

Leslie Contreras Schwartz

Lullaby for My Son After the Orlando Massacre

The baby has been crying all day and I don't know why. Head back, swollen face, looking to me. Looking to me, he cries like he can't see me. He cries as if pulling from some deep well, the one he knows he may deny when he is a grown man, like tenderness never is born in a man, and so tries to spend every last drop. These little children are asking you These little children are asking you I cup his head, hold him against my breast. He doesn't see me, doesn't see me. Please shine down on me Please shine down on me His body writhes, becomes taut, rigid, pain everywhere like he feels the years of burying thought or feelings ahead of him. Golden sun please shine Who will hold him like this again. What mother would deny this for her son, wouldn't take a bullet into her ribs her heart her skull take it for him so that he can shout as loud as he wants to into the dark night, his echo asking the stars to burst brilliant on him, to demand the world to love him like I do, even when the sky sits in response, a heavy dark blanket. Someone, whoever that is, will reach for your hand under this cover of dark, someone, whoever you want it to be, will love you with the same tender song, driving away the things you think you can't do. You can, because I am asking every star and sun in its radiance to shine on you, especially when it is in the form of a hand, a body, that will cup your head, your body. Open up the chest closed tight inside and let you spill out into light. Everyone needs this, even if they don't know it yet. Because to be human is to need someone to recognize the light that glimmers and dims, that we forget, sometimes bury. Someone will see that in you, look at you, and you will feel your face glow in full sun, from inside, that precious light.

Leslie Contreras Schwartz is a Mexican American Jewish writer living in Houston. She is the author of Fuego, published by Saint Julian Press in March. Her work has recently appeared in Storyscape Literary Journal and is upcoming in Tinderbox Poetry Journal. You can read more of her work at

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published weekly by Glass Poetry Press. All contents © the author.