Poetry / October 2018 (Issue 41: Writing Singapore)

Windows, Singapore

by Eileen Chong

Bleary-eyed in the dark—these
are our suburban compatriots.
It's an hour on the bus to school.

I sit next to a boy whom I never
speak to outside of our journeys.
Today he is giving me a blow-

by-blow account of a movie he watched
last night. He always wakes me up before
our stop. He doesn't laugh when my head

sometimes hits the glass. I have a boyfriend
who lives in the city. His father drives him
every morning on the way to work as Director

of Singapore Telecommunications. On some days,
my boyfriend takes the bus home with me
so we can lock ourselves in my bedroom.

Air-conditioner blasting—sweat-free make-out sessions
on long afternoons. He is always invited to stay to dinner.
Afterwards, he takes a taxi home and pays for it with money

his grandfather gives him because my home is so far away
and it's too dark to walk down the streets of fenced-in houses
where he lives. It's quiet there and people mind their own business.

Where I live: strip lights along corridors, footsteps on the ceiling.
Eyes line uncountable windows. I hear my neighbour coughing.
The endless shuffle of mahjong tiles like dull prayers in the night.
Editors' note:
"Windows, Singapore" is included in Eileen Chong's Dark Matter (Recent Work Press),
launched in September 2018.

ImageEileen Chong is a Singapore-born Australian poet. She is the author of eight books. Her most recent full-length collection of poetry is Rainforest (Pitt Street Poetry). Her latest published work is a chapbook, Dark Matter (Recent Work Press). She has collaborated with the photographer Charlene Winfred on Map-Making, a limited edition artist's book of poems and photographs about Singapore, published by Potts Point Press, Sydney. She is published in the USA by George Braziller. Her books have shortlisted for several awards, including twice for the Australian Prime Minister's Literary Awards. She lives and works in Sydney. Visit her website for more information.
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