In Memoriam Matthew Shepard

Having just woken up
the cyclist thought
he'd seen
a scarecrow
fallen over.
But hanging from
a fence you were
too ravaged for that.
Peers of yours
-was all they were-
had left you there
eighteen hours before
breath voicing screams.
On TV they showed
a picture of you:
a 21-year-old student
still intact.
Taken by two boys
(not held back
by their girlfriends)
to a field
by night.
Smashed without mercy
because they perhaps
hadn't made
a future for themselves.
Or had a father said
gays were
an abomination,
read in the bible:
such people you
do not need to love,
don't let them
become your friends.
This folk you
may despise

Is that what
they thought?

Where did you go?
Your parents are
frantically searching;
'don't let a day
go by without
telling your children
you love them'
what Matthew's
asked of
all other fathers
and mothers.

Translation: Willem Groenewegen

© Henk van Zuiden

Matthew Shepard