Ghazal for my grandmother

for Yeap Ah Choo, 2018


I sing to you in the afternoons, grandmother.

I see you wear the ring I gave you, grandmother.


You have forgotten it was once mine. It fit

my finger perfectly, as it does yours, grandmother.


I hand you a book of photographs and poems. You turn

the pages restlessly—you never learned to read, grandmother.


When, and why were these pictures taken? Exactly

where are your memories hidden, grandmother?


The corridors are broken; the rooms are darkened.

Yet I look at you, and I behold you, grandmother.


On the shelf, in your Chinese dress and wavy hair,

you cradled your young son. Not yet a grandmother—


This morning, when I was absent, you told the world

I, little bell, love you best. My heart is yours, grandmother.


Eileen Chong is a Sydney poet. She is the author of seven books. Her latest collection of poetry is Rainforest, from Pitt Street Poetry. Her work has shortlisted for the Anne Elder Award, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, and twice for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award.

Read next

My Feminism

My Feminism


"The local women’s march is pink-dressed, determined, alive. The cheering chanting mass streams past the inner-Sydney sights. A bold sign centre-crowd floating up on high says: I’ll see all you nice white ladies at the next Black Lives Matter march, right? My feminism is intersectional, or my feminism is a lie."

Maxine Beneba Clarke Read more
Reading lists and Playlists: On Lisa Bellear and Laura Mvula

Reading lists and Playlists: On Lisa Bellear and Laura Mvula


As the exhibition opening of 'Close to you: The Lisa Bellear Picture Show' draws near, guest writer Ellen van Neerven muses on the influential figures, like Bellear, who have shaped her identity as a Murri woman, as a queer woman, as a feminist.

Ellen van Neerven Read more
What makes me a woman?

What makes me a woman?


'I dare you to understand what makes me a woman.'

Madison Griffiths Read more