years of where I used to be
a stone could sink silently
without ever being known
from mountain to sea
I could have breathed
out the rest of my life

but there was more
internal conflict
broken heart-roots
years of endless tears
moving 4,000 miles,
5 boxes, two suitcases
leaving all else behind
knowing that truth is not always comfortable
being vulnerable is often lonely
and at 53…
wondered if love mattered

until that preventable fire storm
rained bullets of sorrow in minutes
woke me with grief
49 people dead
wanting to be safe
wanting to be free
in a land where liberty means
owning a machine gun is a lot easier
than being gay like me

i raise my flag