‘City Lights: San Francisco’

City Lights: San Francisco

Eileen Chong

Eileen Chong


Eileen Chong is a Sydney poet who was born in Singapore. She has lived in Australia since 2007. She completed a Masters in...

By this contributor

For H. Tamvakeras

I was reading a poem in that upstairs sunlit room
when I looked up and thought I saw you, Harry,
standing beside the window across from the apartment
where laundry hung outside like a fireman’s ladder snaking

down the brickwork. The man had your narrow shoulders,
the same frail back, your steel-grey hair. His head was covered
by a baseball cap. He was missing your glasses. It’s not
the first time I’ve seen your ghost around books –

in that Sydney apartment up for sale, where shelves
spilled into each room, crammed full of cookbooks,
histories and biographies, I’d thought it was you
smiling in the photographs. You’d fit right into

this windy city. You’d meet with the philosophers
on Wednesday nights, shop the farmers’ markets
on weekends, hold court in the downtown bars
over glasses of ouzo. You would shrug on 

your cracked leather jacket before winding your way
home up the hills, some steep as the hills of Lesbos.
The city lights shiver like so many eyes
before they close up against the darkness of the night.

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