River or Rock?

(in memory of Orlando, June 12, 2016)

The ghost of childhood winters
chills the summer heat,
skipping across the field
behind Bingham Elementary,
stopping on mounds of plow-driven snow
where laughing twelve-year-olds
once gathered.

This was our game:
claim your domain,
defend against all comers.

I often stood as king of those hills.
Pushed and shoved,
I stood resolute, strong, unmovable,
the second biggest kid in grade six,
without fear for one glorious year.

But there was no king
in this contest
we called it
Smear the Queer.

Now in my fiftieth year,
we still play childish games
that aren’t games,
now with guns.

While too many push and shove,
refusing queer to be worn
with self-assurance,
only in derision,
I still stand, still the queer,
resolute, strong, unmovable.

But forty-nine more pulsing ghosts
threaten the strong unmovable me
with an erosion of spirit,
an avalanche into oblivion.

The Colorado began wearing
down the Grand Canyon
millions of years ago.
Am I river or rock?
Either way,
there’s not that much time.