Matthew in the Sky

poetic_star's picture

*I've been reading Judy Shepard's book "The Meaning of Matthew" about her son who was murdered in 1998. I wanted to write a poem about who Matthew was as a person, not just the headline story. The title was taken from Lady Gaga's cover of "Imagine" by John Lennon.*

The state melted into a pool
of cerulean in your eyes,
Wyoming tinted your hair
a cowboy prairie blond and
stained your boyish lips
with a wanderlust grin.
Matthew, you've grown
older by now but some
things never change like how
the Curious Unknown
still sparkles in your dreams,
the sticker lights of Laramie.

Boy, don't leave us just yet..
It's not fair because there's
a writer's six pence moon
hanging above and we can
sit on German cafe chairs,
sipping skim-milk lattes,
reading up on theater,
and you can charm your way
into my imagination like you
did with all your friends,
your innocence star-struck and whimsical.

Matthew, you're the type of
reckless bird that likes to fly
over a sea of coals,
just to prove how brave you are,
despite your small form.
But you don't need to
convince me of this because
there was a gory night
in Morocco when your
confidence was stolen,
along with your shoes,
your body mishandled
by three monsters on
an ancient avenue.
But still dripping teen blood,
you made it back to the hotel,
not entirely unbroken but still a hero.

And you just wanted to be understood,
making interesting phone calls
to your mom and leaving
pretty rocks in mailboxes
for all the neighbors to enjoy.
You wore long-sleeved shirts
that reminded us of your snowstorm birth
and how it made history 22 years ago.

Your life was more than just
a headline on a newspaper,
a name on a split rail fence.
Like a porch swing rocking
calmly in gentle September,
you made me want to do
something worthwhile.
And I don't know why
today the clouds are
so high up that I can
no longer touch your fingers,
feel the fight in your apricot skin,
the songs written in your veins.

Matthew, the deer have all gone to sleep,
resting on the long-stemmed blades
of ordinary green.
And night rolls over,
letting us finally win,
telling us it's okay to be kids in the end.


Bosemaster42's picture

Beautiful tribute,

You should send this to his mom, I think Judy would love it.

poetic_star's picture


I thought about that.