Although I didnâ€™t want April to slip away without reviewing a poetry book, this is not the one I thought Iâ€™d cover. It has sat on my shelf since last fall, itâ€™s slim spine slipping down between other books, sometimes shoved behind but always reemerging to ask the mute question, â€œWhy havenâ€™t you read me?â€ Why? Because I was afraid it would hurt. Because I was afraid it would make me cry. Because this is a collection of poetry in many forms that examines the murder of Matthew Shepard and it’s aftermath and I knew it would be an emotionally brutal read. And it was. All those things happenedâ€”my heart broke, my head ached, I cried. But Iâ€™m glad I read it. Because this is also a collection of poetry in many forms that pays tribute to a life cut short and calls on anyone who reads it to fight against the ignorance, intolerance and hatred that caused Matthewâ€™s murder. Each poem assumes a voice of a person or object that either witnessed or was in someway touched by Matthewâ€™s life or death. We hear from the fence he was hung on, the moon who witnessed it, the prosecutor who argued his case, the jury who decided the guilt of killers, the judge who handed down two life sentences in prison. But the poems that touched me the most were those modeled after the famous apology poem “This is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams. (Probably because all the apologies in the world wonâ€™t bring him back.) Thereâ€™s this one, in the voice ofÂ Matthewâ€™s heart: â€œThis is just to say/Iâ€™m sorry/I kept beating/and beating/inside/your shattered chest/Forgive me/for keeping you/alive/so long/I knew it would kill me/to let you goâ€ And this one in the voice of the judge who rejected the killersâ€™ bogus defense: â€œThis is just to say/Iâ€™m sorry/to deny/your request/to use/the gay panic defense/Forgive me/for pointing out/the obvious:/there was someone gay/and panicked that night/but that someone wasnâ€™t you.â€ Author Leslea Newman has also included loads of fantastic backmatter, including a heartfelt authorâ€™s note, an annotated list of all the news sources she drew from to inform her poems and additional resources should readers want to learn more about Matthew Shepard’s life and memorial. A bittersweet and powerful collection.