A Journal of poetry and kindred prose

Kristine Ong Muslim ’s

publication credits include Bellevue Literary Review, Caveat Lector, Chronogram, The Pedestal Magazine, and Turnrow.

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Plain Girl

Believe me when I say that I know
what is missing, what is mismatched.
My looks have every thing to do
with what I try to represent.
I calculate the half-lives of broken things,
live a secret life inside a white bedroom
in an unheard-of loft
in an unheard-of section in Monroe.
I stay small, anonymous.
I am unbreakable that way.
For want of stillness, I blend in,
get lost in my borrowed air.


Pretty Girl

My mother has told me
to stay away from boys.
But they make me look good,
graceful even. Like properly
pronounced church Latin.
I am light as sugar frosting.
I am a prized ticket stub.
I am the pink of the tongue.
A doll, a door, a stolen red car.


Salt Girl

As a child, I have watched
how the elders butcher
the farm animals, boil the meat
in salted water. I know what
happens inside the pot.
Years later, I take lessons
in taxidermy, keep my husband's
head beside my hunting trophies.
You must understand.
I am what aches to be
rubbed on every wound.