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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.

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