Author: Maureen Tolman Flannery
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Maureen Tolman Flannery’s Ancestors in the Landscape: Poems of a Rancher’s Daughter
was nominated for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. Although she grew up in a Wyoming sheep ranch family, Maureen and her actor husband Dan have raised their four children in Chicago. A Fine Line
was also published this year and produced as musical theatre. Her other books are Secret of the Rising Up: Poems of Mexico, Remembered into Life,
and Knowing Stones.
Her work has appeared in fifty anthologies and over a hundred literary reviews, recently including Midwest Quarterly Review, Amherst Review, Calyx, Atlanta Review,
and North American Review.
She is winner of the 2006 JoAnne Hirschfield Poetry Award.
For Matthew Shepard, University of Wyoming student beaten and left to die.
What rises up in someone young
that says hurt this one who scares you
with his difference?
What prompts a boy to want to beat
what he cannot understand, destroy
what makes him uneasy?
What whispers in the ear to suggest
the gentle one should not be let alone?
What burst of toxic hormone tells a youth
it is his duty to pummel what is outside
some scheme of “rightly” ordered categories,
smash the glass that can refract?
What aberration of human nature,
in a place where survival depends
on men helping men, allows a man
to kill what he cannot bear to look upon
while the real threat, unleashed, roams
rabid in the badlands close to home?