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Kristine Ong Muslim

The Melting Toy

Little stranger, little white taffy
what were you like before you came here?
Didn't your mother used to beat you up
because your makeshift knees
would not support your boneless body,
because you could not stand up to scrutiny
before your jack-in-the-box father?
The god of dough created you in his likeness.
When there was a need to kneel during prayer,
you simply lie there, a puddle on the ground
melding with spilt milk and smashed peanut shells.
That crooked mouth forever agape.
Eyes swimming in and out of your liquefying face.
Eyes taking in everything above and underneath you.

The Heavy Luggage

Little outcast, little dead weight
what were you like before you came here?
Were those stretched lips, those leather handles
the same limbs you used to pry your way
into our world where we would have walked
on our own pace if not for you?
You should have known how many bus stops,
how many baggage claim counters in airports
we had tried in order to abandon you.
And always at the end of the day, the doorbell
would ring and you, squat and black,
would find your way back to us,
would be right there on the welcome mat.
Wagging your tail if you had any.

Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of the chapbook Night Fish (2011). Forthcoming books include We Bury the Landscape, a full-length ekphrastic short fiction collection from Queen’s Ferry Press, the full-length poetry collection Grim Series (Popcorn Press), and the poetry print chapbook Insomnia (Medulla Publishing). She has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Web 2011, and the Science Fiction Poetry Association's Rhysling Award. Her short fiction and poetry have been accepted in hundreds of publications, including Contrary Magazine, ExistereGargoyle Magazine, Hobart, Narrative Magazine, Sou'wester, Southword, The Pedestal Magazine, and Verse Daily. Her publication history can be found here.