Natalie Shaw

To Rabbi Goldberg: a love letter

My mother, the convert, was horrified
when I took to wearing a crucifix;
you laughed, same as when I said

I’d decided not to believe in god.
I said that Shug from The Colour Purple
had it right instead; god

was in it all. I didn’t mention
what I really meant: the yellow
curls of your son’s hair; for years

I dreamed I’d touch it, prayed to it
each night before I went to sleep.
Too late you told my mother this:

one time you’d come across him reading
L’Etranger – in the vain (you told him)
hope I’d notice him one day.




Natalie Shaw‘s work currently features in Antiphon, Fake Poetry and the forthcoming Domestic Cherry. She was recently commended by Roddy Lumsden in the Ware Open Poetry prize and can be found at

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