The Thing with Asian Women Drumming by Grace Lau

Poem title: The Thing with Asian Women Drumming

Poet: Grace

Poem: on the taiko is it has to be seen

to be believed: an unquiet

woman shedding her silence by

taking out her anger

on the taut skin of a dead animal.


It is as if I am listening to

one of our oldest secrets:

how to coax pain into rage

and rage into ecstasy,

a frantic alchemy.


It is as if I am being shaken

loose from my own small life,

reaching through the tender tendrils

of the earth to the mother of the sister of the aunt of the


It is as if I am hearing

my own power

for the first time

on the drum—

drum—             drum—

End of poem.

Credits and bio: Copyright © Grace

Previously published in The Fold Festival Program - 2020.

Grace is a settler living in Ontario on the traditional and Treaty territory of the Anishinabek people, now known as the Chippewa Tri-Council comprised of the Beausoleil, Rama, and Georgina Island First Nations. Her debut poetry collection, The Language We Were Never Taught to Speak, is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Find her on social media at