Yu know how yu can see car careening
before it even start accelerate? Is same
with she. In the crib she bawl, she bawl
till she cyan done. All her life as if
she in a race with ruin. I know I wasting
mi breath fi hope one day she go realise
wanting nuh mek yu special. Even I—
who cotch-up miself on the side a precipice
one time and was schupid enough
fi think it a place fi set up shop—
did wake-up quick-quick once mi foot slip.
When edge draw near fi true
only a fool nuh accept the idea of falling
plenty-plenty different from the drop.

Feature image by Giacomo Balla, Speeding Automobile, 1912. Oil on wood, 21 7/8 x 27 1/8 inches. © 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome.

Shara McCallum

Originally from Jamaica, Shara McCallum is the author of The Face of Water: New and Selected Poems, This Strange Land, Song Of Thieves (Pitt Poetry Series), and Water Between Us (Pitt Poetry Series). Her fifth book, Madwoman, in which “Parable of the Wayward Child” appears, is forthcoming in fall 2016 in the US, 2017 in the UK. Recognition for her writing includes a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, and other awards. Since 2003, she has been director of the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University, where she is also a professor of creative writing.