The Art Room

By Shara McCallum Shara McCallum

for my sisters

Because we did not have threads
of turquoise, silver, and gold,
we could not sew a sun nor sky.
And our hands became balls of fire.
And our arms spread open like wings.

Because we had no chalk or pastels,
no toad, forest, or morning-grass slats
of paper, we had no colour
for creatures. So we squatted
and sprang, squatted and sprang.

Four young girls, plaits heavy
on our backs, our feet were beating
drums, drawing rhythms from the floor;
our mouths became woodwinds;
our tongues touched teeth and were reeds.

“The Art Room” is from the book Song of Thieves, by Shara McCallum, © 2003. All rights controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.

Source: Song of Thieves (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003)

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Poet Shara McCallum

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Relationships, Living, Youth

 Shara  McCallum

Biography

Shara McCallum was born in Jamaica to an African Jamaican father and a Venezuelan mother and moved to the United States with her family when she was nine. She earned a BA from the University of Miami, an MFA from the University of Maryland, and a PhD from Binghamton University. Her collections of poetry include The Water Between Us (1999), Song of Thieves (2003), This Strange Land (2011), and The Face of Water: New and Selected . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Relationships, Living, Youth

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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