Interior Image

Stewart Shaw

Years: 2007, 2010, 2011


Shaw has been published in various journal both online and print, most recently Serendipity Literary Magazine and African American Review. His upcoming chapbook, The House of Men, will be published in July 2019.


daddy sings us goodbyes




He mixed rhythm& blues with his gin.Stirred it untilIt was a party


Caught catfish on Fridaysswam through ditcheson his way home.


Daddythrough breath, hotfrom Lucky Strikes,told his mama whenhe left home the first time—youstill ma girl. Told mama—whenhe got home, the second timebaby, you, still ma girl.




He is memorysepia-toned,hands reaching down, outof nowhere tocollect me—heis ghost hauntingwalls and dreams—an occasional familypicnic.




Daddy wanted to be famous; somebodythought he was Otis Reddingas he sung with the radiothat was perched on top of the refrigerator.Wanted to taste the red claylayered in the music,wanted to be reminded of home,the honey cloistered in the soil there.His dreamsmade him forget us for momentsand hours, got him lost in his souring cup,turned his insides black and rebellious.




And mama, uskids waited.Maybe for the real Otisto slip in behind daddy’s singing, [End Page 326] come and layhands ontiny heads nappedlike Bible verses,ease us into light; keep daddy happywhen he wasn’t singing, ormaybe when he was.