Little Jimmy, 13

Kristine Ong Muslim



He has read about sand struck by lightning

turning into glass. Now he longs for the sea

in exchange for these valleys, these mountains

that stoop and huddle like green clowns

to corner him an interior of a leaf which

cries out again and again for the sun.


Going down the stairs, he notices,

as if for the first time, the broken things,

knitted things, homemade things strewn

across the house. You can polish

diamonds with an abrasive wheel.

You cannot worship a god who does

not think like you do. You cannot count

the silences between two successive lies.

But he cannot say these words to his family.

A country home looks good in the calendars,

but his eyes have not grown accustomed

to the mold underneath the wood.


He feels the stitches in the underside

of his pocket; they will never let his hand

pass through. And for a minute, he believes

that the magnetic fruits on the refrigerator door

have slid down an inch closer to the floor.



 Kristine Ong Muslim lives in the Philippines and has published more than five hundred poems and stories in over two hundred journals and magazines such as   Bellevue Literary Review, Chronogram, The Pedestal Magazine, Grasslimb, Pearl, Porcupine, and Turnrow.