Photography © Lauren Shear


For Chance

We were children
before Death
We were children
before we knew what
Love was

I was a child before
the nightmares of his
skull slick with blood
sunk Death’s sickness
down into my stomach
I was a child before
I was taught bitterness
is how we get through
by bad things because
bad things don’t happen
unless you care

but when I was a child—
rosy nosed with warm cheeks
from Mama’s goodbye kisses,
a boy with bouncy brown curls
in his blue eyes like
wet sand sliding back into the ocean
asked me if I’d play on the merry-go-round
and since that day
we spent every recess together

for years he was every star
shimmering in the sky
we wanted to explore
he opened the door to my unscathed heart

I was still a child
when he asked me to go
sledding on New Year’s Eve
but I couldn’t make it

I was still a child
that night when I told my friends
he’s my crush

I was still a child
when they told me
they caught him staring

But Fate laughed in my face,

I thought there’d still be
a Chance tomorrow

but the stillness of the snow
crashed into the ground
stopped me from making
a sound because I knew
there was no reason
to be a child
when Love himself died.


Lance Klemple is truly the embodiment of a poet running on coffee and the stamina of his pen on the page. Being a part of both the LGBTQ+ community and having mental illnesses, he strives for his readers to feel the sunlight so they no longer feel in the dark by society. Driven mad by poetry, he has found himself in language. Lance dreams of a world filled with love, light, and more poetry.

Lauren Shear is a museum professional, public historian, and lifelong resident of Massachusetts. She has been working with activist groups since college and has been seeking ways to support communities under attack ever since.