@ 27.105 MHz: Alas! What Boots It . . . ?

Lake waves that lap, incessantly, at the shore

wish they had not washed away his footprints.

Sand, in which those footprints had been gently pressed,

wishes that it still retained them intact and inviolable.

Arriving after ninety-three million miles in seven minutes,

unimpeded by waterless clouds of renegade storms,

sunlight seeks to shimmer on the cascades of his golden

curls (well below his shoulders in length) and upon

his torso, bare above the waist of his baggy, khaki

cargo pants, widely loose upon his slender legs,

with flared, frayed cuffs that did not quite conceal his

brown and green argyle socks, which were not---at

least on that day---to be confined within the unyielding

inconvenience of shoes.  Waves. sand and sunlight

feel---and regret---his absence.  Life, also,

streams around his absence which has become a

hollow place in the course of its vital, thrumming flow.

Three thugs, of little achievement, and less consideration---

connoissuers of beer froth, chew, and aging pick-up trucks---

believed that their tenuous, often unstable, manhood had

been made questionable, even threatened, by their

uncomfortable attraction to his exquisite beauty and the

delicacy of his appearance, his voice and gestures.  The

brutal assault they afflicted upon him, after a brief and

quiet abduction, did not immediately kill him:  death

was painfully slow to accomplish its final process upon him.

But they sure felt better about themselves and

about those bulges that rose in their jeans as their

tattooed fists and clodhopping boots battered and

broke his body beyond all hope of recovery;

flung by them into a ditch at the side of a township road

that did not even connect to a state highway's spur.



Author's Notes/Comments: 

The title is taken from a phrase in John Milton's poem, Lycidas, an elegy about the death, by shipwreck, of a beautiful young man of Milton's acquaintance.


The characters, events, and locations in the poem are entirely fictive; although I have followed certain details of the brutal assault upon and subsequent death of Matthew Shepherd.  The lake to which the first line alludes is imaginary, but I had in mind a similarity to the Tom Steed Reservoir adjacent to Great Plains State Park in Oklahoma.


The main purpose of the poem is to present the appearance of the main character during his walk along the beach; and the details of his appearance during that walk.  The thugs, and their brutal cruelty toward him, are included only for the contrast to his delicate beauty and gentleness.

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