Scrolling Names on a News Ticker

—after the Orlando Shooting

I look at the names and see my people,
Martinez, Torres, Vega, Ocasio,

I look at names and see the families,
brothers, sisters, lovers, parents.

I look at their names and see my family,
Simón, Luis, Enrique, Alejandro.

I look and I look, can’t pull away,
the names lost among headlines:

“Delayed Police Response,” “‘He’s Going to Kill Us,’”
“Orlando Gunman Was ‘Cool and Calm.’”

Had they been white instead of Latinx,
had they been straight instead of queer,

had the club been exclusive, country,
they’d be more than names, there’d be more fear.


Ernesto L. Abeytia

Ernesto L. Abeytia is a Spanish-American poet. He holds MAs in English from Saint Louis University and from the Autonomous University of Madrid. He is currently working on a collection of poems about living and traveling throughout the Iberian Peninsula. He can be found reading his work online at PBS NewsHour. Ernesto is a Teaching Associate and MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

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