Near Laramie, One Hundred Fiftytwo, And Twentytwo, Years Ago

[for Matthew Shepard, in Heaven]

 

One hundred fifty-two years ago,
while laying the Union Pacific's right of way,
did the workers happen to notice
that desolate stretch of windswept prairie,
perhaps already bob-wired?
There (only twenty-two years ago)
a couple of inhumane male-beasts,
swaggering braggarts with disarming smiles,
and malevolent stares in their eyes,
brutually beat a beautiful young man
within inches of his life, and those inches
gave way to death some shortened days later.
Cold steel rails lie dtraight in parallel lines---
never able to touch, never able to exchange warmth,
never to meet in intimate instersection;
on which roaring locomotives plow forward---
horns shrieking, blasting, apart
silences of the air;
headlights tearing through the still night
with a wicked glare.

 

Starward

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Disclaimer:  the poem is not meant to suggest that the city of Laramie, or the Union Pacific Railroad, bears any culpability in, or responsibility for, the heinous murder of Matthew Shepard; both institutions are only bystanders, providers of circumstance and metaphor for the poem.

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