Kristine Ong Muslim


We notice the suicide notes on his chest, at the back
of his hands. His skin is an infertile river bank where

civilization cannot begin. Hardboiled thighs harbor scars.
He has a handful of imprisoned suns, new recruits,

new additions to his sacrament of street gang rules.
We watch him live, laugh, move on, while we huddle

inside our rooms. Each day, he fingerprints with spit
the sidewalk in front of our house.

A Ninth Lesson in Magic

On national TV, she pouts her calendar-girl lips.
Her diamond necklace conceals the stitches
and deposits of Superglue. She brandishes
her contours. We ooh and aah.
Even the Premier peeks at her décolletage.

We hold our breath when she opens her mouth,
smiles. The sutures holding her muse-flesh have
been ironed out; all the parse errors on her algorithms
are skillfully tucked away. We fall in love when she tells
the TV anchor that the answer to the riddle is I do.

More than 500 of Kristine Ong Muslim's poems and stories have appeared or are forthcoming in over 200 publications worldwide. Her poetry has appeared in Boxcar Poetry Review, Chimera Magazine, Foliate Oak, Otoliths and Sawbuck.

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