in London—Training on electric power through soft country air:
the polyester seats are tartan-scratched
with a yellow on blue. I’ve never been here –
But two centuries and four generations of meiosis ago
I remember the steam-powered huffling coal. The bone-memory,
blood remembrance, comes easy. The drone of bagpipes at the bridge
makes the genes ache, remember how long they’ve wandered.

in Beijing—The cramped and crowded curve
of the hutongs. I smell the gong bao, sizzling
in fat, the chink of real jade knocking against tourist-teeth.
People here are rivers, compounded energy:
my feet understand angles before my head.
The memory returns in the going,
taking each step forward: memoried muscle.

in Buenos Aires—I can’t remember: the oppressive air, the
smell of the southern sun, the taste of the bailar,
the hot wound of colonialism and the cool shade
of puertos cerrados. The graffiti, tattooed
on the city’s spine, is impressed on my eyes,
leaving an after-sight of empty, untasted
bitterness, non-flavor, non-color. It is the taste of my own spit
for a place my body cannot remember.

About the author

Liz Lyon has accidentally set off house alarms in Spain and jumped into several Swiss lakes. The next adventure is New Zealand and the…

Read the full bio

Issue 17 · March 2013

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