echoes of a hate crime, remembering Matthew Shepard

People are made of paper, love affairs, 

             anything that tears easily. 

 A pregnant woman stands under the lunar eclipse,  

              carves a swirl into a tree, 

 her baby is born with this same mark on his thigh. 

 It’s just like the earth to come between the sun and the moon  

              and cause this kind of mystery. 

Point at a rainbow, and it will plummet and slice your finger off. 

Use your lips instead, to show others what you are looking at. 

Don’t stand on high rocks or they will push you into the sky, 

           and you will be pressed like a flower in a book. 

People are made from rain showers, hatred, smears of spit, 

             anything that might evaporate instantly. 

That night, the moon was a true blood red,  

not the pale rust of this moon, this morning. 

             An entire human body coated red with blood,  

                except where a path of tears washed through. 

Don’t stare at the moon  

          or it will follow you persistently like a stray cat you have fed. 

Don’t hold out your hands when the sun is shining,  

           or you will burn continually with possibility. 

People are made of buckets of sand, sequins of clay, desire,  

           anything that washes away easily. 

Don’t inhale too deeply, the scent of fallen leaves  

pasted to the forest floor after a fresh rain, 

            or you will be repeatedly stepped on. 

Don’t count the seeds in a mound of bear scat  

            or just as many clouds will split open above your head. 

From Not into the Blossoms and Not into the Air (Parlor Press, 2019). Copyright © 2019 by Parlor Press. Used by permission.