Emei City

Lost homes – a poem by Yuan Yang



The summer soon gone,

I was walking in my first hometown.


The guardsmen at the district gate

watched me like a stray white cat:




When you have moved homes

like a fox moving dens,


to long for your original owner

is to forget you no longer


belong to an owner, and


yet, before feral,

you nosed your way back,


to the street filled at night

with the white smell of gardenias.


This morning, corn is burning

along the embankment.


The smoke brings a mixed nausea

for the many lives that go walking with me


down Emei River.


It trembles in the August morning:

slow ripples from dragonflies on the water.


The tremors pass and fill one another,

some higher, some lower, some left



yet stiller.

Yuan Yang was born in China and lives in London, where she writes for The Economist’s finance and economics section. You can find her on Twitter @YuanFenYang

Watch a video of Yuan performing this poem and others at Beijng Cream poetry night in May 2014

Also read Yuan Yang's previous poem on the Anthill, Names

This poem was updated by the author on 10.16.14