East of Wyoming, I Remember Matthew Shepard
After The Entombment by Raphael
The night my father died, I sat on a stool
at the Buckhorn, gazing
out the window’s cool counter seat.
Like a funhouse mirror, you appeared.
I have a familiar-looking face; my father used to say—
his wish for me to blend in.
Late after an argument, I fled
and was found bound to a prairie fence
after eighteen hours.
My body is like a sock in the wind
in a field just a mile from here.
My face blooms, velvety
and light like a lamb’s ear,
stachys byzantina; my ears
frozen with blood; down
my neck, it goes. A medley of ants shuffles
away. My body is rich with the sour smell
of urine on my head like a crown of daffodils.
Copyright © 2023 by Ruben Quesada. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 27, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.