One Poem by Shane McCrae

Our poetry editor, Wendy Xu, has selected one poem by Shane McCrae for her monthly series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

Paul Cézanne, “Still Life With Water Jug” (c. 1892-3) (image via Wikimedia Commons)


Jim Limber on the Apple Harvest


Never was good with women     I mean I

Had a few woman friends     at the factory

But that was work     and sometimes I think they

Were nice to me because they had to be


Nice to the men     even the men beneath them

And me I died just like I started     down

But nobody     has to be nice in Heaven

Nobody has to smile     God is a wom-


an for some folks     in Heaven and

God is a man for others and for some

Folks God is both and neither one     for some folks God

Is neither one and nothing in-between


I see folks’     Gods whenever I see their faces

But God don’t look like anybody here

For me     God is a woman     and Her face is

Black as a bright black stone     I’ve walked with Her


On the flat stone path between the apple orchard

And the garden     where first the harvest flowers




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Shane McCrae’s most recent books are The Gilded Auction Block (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018), and In the Language of My Captor (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), which won the 2018 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Poetry, was a finalist for the National Book Award, The Los Angeles Times Book Award, and the William Carlos Williams Award, and has been nominated for the 2018 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. He lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University.

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