Kristine Ong Muslim's poems and stories have appeared
or are forthcoming in many fine places. These include
Bellevue Literary Review, Chronogram, The Pedestal
Magazine, The Pittsburgh Quarterly Online, Syntax,
Tipton Poetry Journal, Turnrow, and Whistling Shade.
She lives in the Philippines. Her publication history:
The months, the strands
of falling hair
go down the bathroom drain.
The fifth second opinion
uses the same set of words;
only the placement
of the final C-word
has been changed.
In the den, the phone
is no longer ringing.
Sun-golden hands sort, understand
the textures, the taxonomy
of ordinary objects.
Fingers wield time and brandish
an imaginary baton to confess
the same song, the same secret
sound of settling dust. Outside,
clouds creep to swathe the sun
with opaque films of rain.
Falling, we encounter
no resistance, just
the brush of cold
metal surface against
the seat of our jeans.
Friction has never been
a component of survival.
As children, we laugh
when we strike bottom.
The satisfaction gleaned
from that moment ripples
inwardly; we do not linger
to entertain applause.
Something has to give
The hour is invisible.
I have been waiting for
the right moment of the day
when I can catch it
cast a shadow.
Two bats chasing
a lamp or an inflated plastic bottle
is an effort to extinguish a craving for
insomnia. One swig of absinthe-scream
sublimates into a double flurry of gray-black
rats with wings. Behind the walls are the
hemophilic traps, those tell-tale tread marks
of night and surreal cave drawings.
How many stars can you hold in your hands
before you fizzle out with them? How many
bats do you need to make a statement about
the symmetry of wings, the superficiality of flight?