Shara McCallum was born on October 18, 1972 in Jamaica to Afro-Jamaican and Venezuelan parents and moved to the U.S. at the age of nine. She earned a B.A. from the University of Miami, an M.F.A. from the University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. in Poetry and African American and Caribbean Literature from Binghamton University in New York. Her books of poetry include Song of Thieves (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003) and The Water Between Us (1999), winner of the 1998 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. Her poems have won a college prize from The Academy of American Poets, been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes, and appeared in several journals, including The Antioch Review, Chelsea, The Iowa Review, and Verse. McCallum's poems have been anthologized in The New American Poets: A Bread Loaf Anthology (ed. Michael Collier, 2000) and Beyond the Frontier: African American Poetry for the Twenty-First Century. She is the recipient of a Tennessee Individual Artist Grant in Literature and a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. McCallum lives in Pennsylvania and teaches and directs the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. She is also on the faculty of the Stonecoast Low Residency MFA program.
Miss Sally on Love
In my time, I was a girl who like to spree. The whole world would open fi mi if I shift mi hips to strain the fabric of mi skirt, just so. Still, I did learn mi lesson where love concern: if snake bite yu, when yu see even lizard, crawling with him belly on ground, yu run. Now the gal come to mi, say she fall in love with man who have a plan fi change. But she nuh notice him also carry gun? And, lawd, how she nuh see who running the show and who keeping house same way?
Copyright © 2011 by Shara McCallum. Reprinted from This Strange Land with the permission of Alice James Books.