From My Grandma's Eyes

Sophie Zhu

I – laundry


every Saturday morning my grandma does laundry

every Saturday afternoon there are clothes drying in the yard

the pandemic does not change this, 

even as the world revolves swiftly onwards

her grandchildren do not think she feels the shock waves,

at least not as much as they do,

but she does.

she does.

every night she calls her daughter, who lives across the Pacific

and sees that her life has gone back to normal

pre-January, pre-pandemic

months later, and my grandma still does laundry on Saturday mornings

the only difference is that she must include the masks

worn by each family member throughout the week

months later, and still nothing is normal,

except for the laundry hanging in the yard on Saturday afternoons


II – hotpot

my grandma’s children and grandchildren

are all grown up,

but she is still the matriarch,

and would not let anyone else cook 

she used to be alone all day,

until we got back from school

but now we are always home,

and we start to cook too

my cousin makes ribeye,

my sister and I do pizza, my dad crafts

poke and spam musubi

but when we have hotpot, we all cook together


III – the cat 

on his face is a Rorschach test 

and condescending eyes

he is a puff of smoke with little cat feet  

he sprawls out, claws out, 

on my father’s leather couches,

and the bathroom rug

he touches his pink nose to people’s hands,

and the pools of his eyes shift

with the day, from slit to eclipse

my grandma chases him away 

from her feather duster, and scolds him 

for walking too close to the curtains,

my grandma asks where he is, 

points at his dish repeatedly

when he hasn’t finished his lunch,

and when he paws at the garage,

she asks him why he’s upset

he is another child, 

to be fair, he’s a child she refuses to touch,

but he’s still another child