What Memory Tastes Like – Sasha Saben Callaghan

we drank sweet, black coffee, flavoured with orange peel

Sasha Saben Callaghan is a writer and digital artist. She was a winner of the 2016 ‘A Public Space’ Emerging Writer Fellowship and the 2019 Pen to Paper Awards. Her poetry, short stories and illustrations have been published in a wide range of magazines and journals.

Sasha’s lived experience of disability and impairment is a major influence on her work.

What Memory Tastes Like

Yes, I know what memory tastes like.

It’s a triple espresso from Las Violetas,

a coffee house in downtown Buenos Aires,

with terrazzo floors and marbled Corinthian columns.

Now, when the smell of arabica or dark cerrada

hangs between flurries of snow in the wintery air

I go sailing away, down the Rio Grande 

Due southerly, from Colorado to the Gulf of Cazones

to dance the tango in some basement jazz bar.

Mocha means riding a sleek, black horse across Patagonia.

cantering over the pampas in distant Tierra del Fuego,

where two great oceans collide.

Blue Haitian reminds me of watching from the veranda 

of an estancia near del Santiago Estero, 

as a charm of humming birds, tiny living jewels,

darted between barberry thorns, frangipani flowers.

Blue throated goldentails. Collared Incas. Sparkling violetears.

On the first night climbing the Andes,

we drank sweet, black coffee, flavoured with orange peel.

Star anise melya, poured straight over ice,

like the heat and the breeze in the mountains.

Sasha Saben Callaghan

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