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Driving On Paradise, June 13th, 2016
Jac-Lynn Stark

Driving on Paradise Road
on a Monday afternoon
I am stuck behind a school bus
Its ubiquitous goldenrod yellow
Stopping every other block
Yellow lights flashing and then turning red
As a stop sign fans out from its side like gills
Out doing errands, I am impatient
Waiting behind each stop
As a 12 year old ambles down the steps
To the outdoors
Laden with backpack
The yellow lights pulse regularly
Before turning to red
The color of ambulance lights
Waiting outside Pulse nightclub
As bodies were carried out
Stopped mid-beat from their dancing
And pure love of rhythm as it moved them
Away from and then closer to each other
This particular child I watch in his
Awkward walk down the bus stairs
Seeing the sense of freedom as his foot
Touches the ground
His own attractions not yet fully known
Would he be one of the dancing ones
In some future late night revelry
Pulse stopped by a bullet
From someone who hates his own desires
To touch his lips to those of another man

Jac-Lynn Stark is a poet and teacher who lives north of Boston, Massachusetts. She was born in the Bronx and teaches English at Bunker Hill Community College. She believes that all forms of creative and artistic response are more important than ever in these troubled times in which we live. And when that doesn't help, there's always a nice glass of red wine.