Poem inspired by Langston Hughes's "Dream Deferred" from The Panther & The Lash. This is wholesale thievery from the original poem. Same structure (though I added a couplet), same rhyme scheme and similar language.
Here's the original.
Rainbow Flag, Half Mast
What happens to a massacre replaced by a constantly tragic news cycle?
Does it get washed away
like blame in a hurricaned city?
Or dry up like a well
of unsupervised pity?
Do its victims finally find peace
with their names
role called on a press release?
Does it get filed as notes
for the survivors' therapists
when the media changes the word
homophobe to terrorist?
Maybe it just frays
like a rainbow flag made of cotton
until it's just another mass shooting forgotten
An ongoing conversation between writers and the text that they're reading.