Gathering like large and lazy vultures
they asked me, on my travels, where I’m from —
my origins, religion and my culture
the place from which I came, so forth, and on.

But how to answer them? For I existed
before spermatozoa met an egg.
I come from letters, all those base pairs twisted
A, T, G, C, the helix, (double legs).

The letters for a language we’re now speaking,
that twisted code a wily, winding worm,
is that the answer, friend, that you were seeking
when you questioned where this woman’s from?

My mitochondria go back to Eden,
where Eva first took Adam at his word,
in Africa the bloodbeat pulses, leading
Bonnie lasses past yon flaming sword.

To hanging trees, where serpents blithely slither,
the fruit of knowledge rests on flickin’ tongues,
the curve of woman causing man to shiver.
That, dear questioner, is where I’m from.


Liùsaidh is a Forward Prize-nominated poet, lyricist, author and critic from the west of Scotland. Prior to sliding to the bottom of society, she worked the law. Her work has appeared online and in print, most notably in Poets & War, The Ghazal Page and Eastern Structures. As LJ McDowall she writes speculative fiction and edits The Quarterday Review, a quarterly literary journal dedicated to classical forms. She can be found online at her, on Twitter @ljmcdowall and Facebook at @ljmcdowallwrites.

Featured Image: “The Temptation of Eve,” by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope.

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4 Responses

  1. Dusty Grein


    I love this. I have come to enjoy all of your poetry, and your QR is one of my favorite magazines. It’s so nice to read the works of a fellow classicist, and I’m so glad that you are contributing here as well. Our paths have crossed a couple times now, and that makes me happy as well. Know that your talent has impressed me as much as your personal endorsements by others in my Facebook groups (Leslie is a mutual friend) and your poetry has touched me deeply.

    Thank you.


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