Loverman falls in love with a corpse
She has cold hands. You do not
consider that strange.
This is the first time that a girl
has let you hold her hands.
That is not her pulse quickening
underneath the pale skin of her wrist.
It is the anticipation hammering
in your head. You imagine your future
with her. You imagine a lot of things.
A blowfly slips inside her mouth.
You see it as the black meniscus of her smile.
(first appeared in Bayou Magazine #59, Spring 2013)
Loverman slits his throat
The solitary people meet their doubles,
howling as they decide on new names.
That is how it’s supposed to be.
The girl you love—she has no hands.
She cannot hold whatever it is that
you offer her. But she takes it anyway.
You mistake that for love, that she has
finally reciprocated. Look again.
She is empty-handed. See?
(first appeared in South Dakota Review Vol. 50, Fall/Winter/Spring 2012 & 2013)
not, do not
let us in.
Here is a tree
that only thrives
We drop pebbles
in the broth,
wait for the thaw.
Someone sings, plays
the piano inside
the lighted houses.
Did the children
finally grow fingers
while we were away?
(An early version of "Little Selves" was published in Momoware #3, Autumn/Winter 2010.)
Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of three books, We Bury the Landscape (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012), Grim Series (Popcorn Press, 2012), and A Roomful of Machines (ELJ Publications, 2015). Her poems and short stories were published in the likes of Bayou Magazine, Contrary Magazine, Sou’wester, Southword, and The State. She lives in a small farming town in southern Philippines. Website: http://kristinemuslim.weebly.com/