Excerpts from The Book of Antiprayers


My dog will be the first dog in heaven,
and his paws will be licked clean by angels.
He will wait for me and my family,
leave the Gates ajar for our return.


Wednesday is an occasion of an enemy's
demise. Thursdays the birds burn in mid-flight,
in flocks of gray-brown fire. I am safe down here,
pressed against the glass. I hear the sky melting.


The souls of tiny objects linger on the shelves
threaten me with their stillness. I break their
husks, find the joints where they can be bent,
disintegrated, crushed like bones of snow.
Only at first I do no harm, remain small like them--
close to being an eye where sight gets its name.


Forgetting I can leave to steep, to hammer down,
to fold, and yet its voice remains the same.
Memory is the gun that keeps me confessing
until I break, my lungs ribbed in time for madness.


I bottle up my blindness, pickle it with all
the other accoutrements of soul.
Severed limbs learn to give up their light.
That is why I tell lies before I kiss,
pity what comes after forever.

apocryphaltext Vol. 2, Nos. 2 & 3

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 Bellevue Literary Review, Boxcar Poetry Review, GlassFire Magazine, GUD Magazine, Noneuclidean Café, The Pedestal Magazine, and Turnrow.

from The Book of Antiprayers
by kristine ong muslim