“What It’s About” by Spencer Shaak

I look for Charlie every time
on Sundays at the Bayou Bar.
He’s always on the same stool,
slugging down two-dollar Miller Lights.

We watch Eagles football together
with the rest of the Bayou.
We talk about what we like
about Philadelphia – Wissahickon Park,
fallen-fire crusted leaves,
hustle and bustle, food vendors,
barbecue steam,
bicyclists swinging in and out,
like bright crochet hooks
weaving their own section
of Philadelphia’s quilt.

Charlie tells me he’s lived in the city
for all eighty years of his life.
I say – Me? Barely one.
But right now, it’s not about then,
it’s about now – Main Street, Manayunk,
bikes in and then out, hickory smoke blocks away,
Bayou, two-dollar Miller Lights,

Charlie sitting on the stool to my right.
It’s about words never said:
You’re like a grandfather to me.


Spencer Shaak is an MFA graduate in creative writing from Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pennsylvania.

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