“Billboard” by Matthew Merendo

SHOOT A GAY OR TWO, the graffiti’d sign
spoke as they drove to school in ’93.
Five years later, at the Fireside,
the same two men, like wolves in skins of sheep,
got lucky when they met a lonely son,
a Shepard boy. They talked a bit about
love and the weather, the meeting Matt had come
from, before the sheep ushered the shepherd out
the door and into a pick-up truck. The boy
didn’t know their destination but
was happy to have found some friends, his joy
a prelude to the luck he found that night:
the boy left beaten, tied to picket bars,
eyes left open, soothed by friendly stars.


Matthew Merendo has wanted to write since the first grade, when he wrote a seven-page story about Wormy the Worm’s travails during a thunderstorm. (It was supposed to be a single-page assignment. Whoops.) He’s done a lot of stuff since then — some college degrees, retail work, web development, college instructor — but he also wrote a novel that was once published and is now not, since the publishing house shut down. He’s actively seeking republication… and an agent! You can stay in the loop at his website, https://matthewmerendo.com.