In stories like these, I hope, we can find some of that common ground I was looking for. After all, regardless of our feelings about queer identities, who among us would not feel pain for a child who is so tormented that he takes his own life? Whether or not we support protecting gay teens with anti-bullying legislation, who would not mourn for a life cut horrendously short, for the parents who lost their child, for the boy who felt so unwanted and unloved by the world that he left it behind?
My heart is breaking for these kids and their families, for every queer kid who has taken his or her own life, for those who are standing on the edge considering it right now. I want them to hold on. I want to promise them that if they keep on living, someday they’ll find themselves in a better world.
I want to be able to keep that promise.
twenty-six inches below his scuffed sneakers,
shoes that have carried him from the school grounds each day
during his only after school activity,
running from the rocks and the words
hurled at him from kids who go to school
to learn to read, to learn to write, and
who above all learn to hate,
twenty-six inches below the young boy’s feet
we find our common ground.
this is the ground he should stand upon,
but this is the ground he’ll never touch again.
it’s the ground where his mama began her mourning
and his daddy, his healing, as they looked up
into their son’s eyes to find that they’ll never
again look back. we stand on this ground for him,
to say no more, no more
no more living or dying this way.