You were the girl
with the untamable curls
exploding from your tiny head.
I first saw those curls bounce when you turned around
to copy my math answers in fourth grade.
I covered my paper and offered to help you.

The first time I came over your house
you called me upstairs
so I would walk past the wide-open bathroom door
while you were peeing.
You laughed maniacally
when I turned red and ran back downstairs.

You were as loud and brassy as those curls,
unless you were talking to your dogs
in your baby voice.
You loved all creatures
and dreamed of being a veterinarian
or marine biologist.

It was always fun at your house.
We ate what we wanted
swam in your pool,
Ran upstairs shouting, “Esta noche volamos!”
Ran downstairs shreiking, “To the batmobile!”
and were allowed to be girls.

I always apologized for you
when you argued.
You said you had no patience for lies.
You won every battle,
large and small,
then sharply instructed me not to apologize.

After high school we were planets away.
I heard you decided to become a lawyer.

You didn’t take shit from anyone.
I guess that’s why the coward felt he needed a gun.

You were found in a dumpster.

They identified you
by your hummingbird tattoo.

The man who helped discard you
was released from prison for good behavior.

You wouldn’t have let that happen
If you had the chance to finish your law degree.


Written in memory of Shannon Lee Meara, my childhood friend. This beautiful and smart young woman was seeking an education so she could help others when she was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. She was 24 years old.

Please consider donating to the Shannon Lee Meara Foundation. Funds raised support a dating and domestic violence program for high school students to promote healthy dating relationships, and an annual scholarship for a high school graduate who has had a positive impact on dating and domestic violence issues.

If you live in the Boston area, please consider participating in the 6th Annual Shannon’s Run, happening on Saturday, June 1, in Woburn, Massachusetts. More information can be found on the Shannon Lee Meara Foundation website.


8 thoughts on “Shannon”

  1. This is horrific, truly horrific. I am truly sorry for your loss.

    What you wrote though is a beautiful Ode. You’ve honoured her beautifully.

  2. I can’t bring myself to click “like.” This, however, is beautifully and hauntingly written. I’m reading it on a perfect spring morning where no bad thing could happen, so the horror is especially hard-hitting. So sorry …

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