Little Jimmy, 13
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.