Fred Shaw

Party Girls

for Kathy, Ginny and Nancy

Still Life: A Banqueting Scene by Jan Davidszoon de Heem

By then, they’d thickened with middle-age,
chugging up steps from the basement
Revel Room, working a wake or shower,
a retirement party where everything
was half-hearted and ending
with weak cocktails in small glasses,
the chafing dishes done burning
their Sterno, the hotel-pans keeping

redskins and rigatoni warm enough
until those of us in the kitchen could clean up
the leftovers, all of us sweating
between shoulders, crabbing about tired legs,
wanting to wrap this shit up
before the shift even began.


About the writer:
Fred Shaw is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, and Carlow University, where he received his MFA.  He teaches writing and literature at Point Park University and Carlow University. His first collection. Scraping Away, is forthcoming from CavanKerry Press.  A book reviewer and Poetry Editor for Pittsburgh Quarterly, his poem, “Argot,” is featured in the 2018 full-length documentary, Eating & Working & Eating & Working.  The film focuses on the lives of local service-industry workers. His poem “Scraping Away” was selected for the PA Public Poetry Project in 2017.  He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and rescued hound dog.

Image: Still Life: A Banqueting Scene by Jan Davidszoon de Heem (1606-1684). Oil on canvas. 53.2 x 73.9 inches. Public domain.