HomeSouthern VoiceMemphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

by Liz Marlow

Music notes played in ringing ears
were applauded —
piano keys tapped lightly against fingers;
paintbrushes and drumsticks beat
against stretched skin; guitar strings strummed
like blackbirds landing on electric wires.

One might stroll on cobblestones
to tempos written by legends
following a scent of barbecue on an open pit
and with beer in hand, stumble into another
looking into each others’ eyes.

Late in the evening, beer dripped
slowly from the tap like sweat down
our backs in July, soaking into cotton
so much that a slight dizziness took place
and the blackbirds seemed to swell
to hundreds in a single oak tree.

As I left, the pollen that had covered
my car vanished, crosses stood on hills
rather than lonely trees, and I thought
about nights sleeping naked without sheets —
the window unit turned up like an amp in a coliseum
and suddenly I could breathe.

Liz Marlow was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. After receiving her MFA in creative writing from Western Michigan University in 2005, she moved back to Memphis. She currently lives there with her husband and daughter.

Hopping to Eatonton,
  • Scarlett / April 10, 2014

    As another born, raised and returned Memphian, I can see, hear and smell exactly the spot that Liz Marlow took us. Quite evocative. Thanks