Shane mcCrae



Little Brown Koko lives in pictures
in the book as I remember it
In illustrations always somehow too

Small for his body
the/Solid black outlines of his body no
Sure boundary for his brown black skin

His belly covered not held in
By bright red overalls /His overalls
Stop just above his knees

the pink of his pink lips
Stretches to cover the
Bigness of his big lips

In the book as I remember it
I saw him also in the words
but less in the words

The bigness of his lips is not as big there his
Blackness is not a black
the reader notices


Shane McCrae is the author of Mule, Blood, and three chapbooks—most recently, Nonfiction, which won the Black Lawrence Press Black River Chapbook CompetitionHis work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Fence, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere, and he has received a Whiting Writers Award and a fellowship from the NEA. He teaches in the brief-residency MFA at Spalding University. 

To read Shane McCrae’s other two poems “The Light” and “The Two Blacks” from this series in Issue 2, get your copy here.