August 3, 2016

LGBTQ Poets Respond to the Pulse Nightclub Shooting

Kat Tan

Lights for Orlando

What monsters the world will have us seem when youths scatter their cares like confetti into the night, like fireflies and their light, like cells of constellations that give back in the dark our eyes and have violence pollute the sky make big cities out of heaven and angels out of stargazers; make stars out of human life Too soon their last dance em-dashed into fragment by impolite bullets that might otherwise find worse-loved surfaces like paper targets or air Not my sisters and brothers so fierce and queer so big in their defiance of smotherance of quietness of disappearance even when the world wants them gone Dear Orlando, dear children, dear those who work too much and are paid too little, this is for you & all the confused grieving of those who just want to make it home each night Your light will not be forgotten Let us make whispers of these monsters that throw human shapes against walls Chase them into fiction with fireworks on our tongues and patience that could only mean loving Even if it is not what we deserve loving is perhaps what will save the world Let us speak the names of our people dripping their footprints across the sky Mistake them for airplanes, shooting stars, but never mistakes such wonder could never be by accident Make love the motive, not the end to which you fight on So raise the torches in your throat and show the way to morning Tomorrow, we light a better day

Kat Tan is a second-year Robertson Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University, pursuing a B.A. in Bioethics and a minor in Fiction Writing. She is a spoken word poet, songwriter, scientist, queer PoC, and friend, just perhaps not in that order. In "Lights for Orlando," she addresses the inevitable helpless rage and disillusionment in the wake of the Pulse club shootings. It is equal parts memorial and summons to carry on the good fight for love and visibility. Visit for more of her writing.

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