When I was a kid, my mom would give me and my sisters
coloring books to keep us preoccupied
during Sunday Masses- Jesus themed coloring books, of course.
The Catholic kind where you use crayons to
fill the lines of the Eucharist, the cross, the Bible.
Kept us quiet while also staying relevant.
I wasn’t really a fan of the religious aspect,
instead more interested in how to turn my
palette of eight wax colors into
as many hues as there supposedly were creatures
boarded up on Noah’s ark.
In eighth grade, long after my mom decided that
we had to actually pay attention to our church services,
my family took a roadtrip to
Washington, D.C., over April break.
Hotels cost too much so we stayed with some
distant relatives. Still not sure how we were related,
something intricate on my father’s side, as per usual.
Halfway through the week we find ourselves
standing in front of the white house in all its glory.
Mom seemed to forget how sluggish the heat
left us all feeling because kids wouldn’t it be so cool
if we saw President Obama?
Instead we saw protesters with signs as big as their egos.
God Hates Faggots.
You’ll burn in Hell.
A man will a bullhorn was yelling about how
the President and everyone involved would
be subject to eternal damnation if
us queers were given the goddamn right to put a ring on it.
Security stepped in and I swear I had never seen
guns that big anywhere but on television.
Mom steered us away,
her sunscreen scented hands on our shoulders,
enough was enough.
Ironic how many times I filled the pages of my
discount coloring books with the colors of the rainbow
while he sat beside me listening to the sermon.
As Mom pulled us away she muttered to herself
if he gets shot, that’s on him.
Riots were happening in Baltimore,
we watched updates on the morning news,
and she wanted to take no chances.
She lead us across the street and said
in a quiet voice that shook like thunder;
if you hear shots,
she squeezed my shoulder tighter,
lock arms and run.