Ancient City in Translation
by Alex Dally MacFarlane

A poem in Arabic:
it sounded like remembered scents
caught at her elbow, her throat.
Dusty, spicy, old.
It only required a small incision,
an opening, Here, here, stay in me
like a city older than parchment.

Moon letters and sun letters
gathered in her veins, her bones,
and awaited the scents of other cities.

Alex Dally MacFarlane lives and works in London, where she soon plans to return to academia. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Mammoth Book of Steampunk, Steam-Powered 2: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories, A Moment of Change, Clarkesworld Magazine, Fantasy Magazine, EscapePod, Sybil's Garage and Goblin Fruit, and has been nominated for the Rhysling Award. A handbound limited edition of her story "Two Coins" was published by Papaveria Press in 2010. She keeps a website at