The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Shara McCallum


 fragments and definitions


Like smoke or cinders, fire transfigured.
The voice that fidgets and refuses a chair.
Sad, sad, sad—all the while now.
Like looking up into the pear tree and receiving a fractal sky.
The zig-zagging around the room.
The confusion that’s just begun.
Like rockstone, stubborn and mad enough to hold on to being wronged.
Shadow boxer.
One eye blue, one brown, back turned on this town.
Like the song of the flim-flam.
Sometimes subterranean. Sometimes chameleon.
The body’s sparrowing out. Or the body as both lantern and shipwrecked form.
Like the kaleidoscope, reconsidered. A trick of light.
Everything misheard, misremembered.
The one-one cocoa, still trying to fill a basket with a hole.
Like moorings that don’t release.


Shara McCallum



She could sing the blue out of water
She could sing the meat off a bone
She could sing the fire out of burning
She could sing a body out of home

She could sing the eye out of a hurricane
She could sing the fox right out its hole
She could sing the devil from the details
She could sing the lonely from a soul

She could sing a lesson in a yardstick
She could sign the duppy out of night
She could sing the shoeless out of homesick
She could sing a wrong out of a right

She could sing the prickle from the nettle
She could sing the sorrow out of stone
She could sing the tender from the bitter
She could sing the never out of gone




SHARA McCALLUM's fifth book, Madwoman, is forthcoming in January 2017 from Alice James Books (US) and in spring 2017 from Peepal Tree Press (UK). Originally from Jamaica, McCallum lives in Pennsylvania where she teaches and directs the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University.



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