(first appeared in Harpur Palate Vol. 11, No. 1, Summer/Fall 2011)
They live under the stairs.
Upon entering the house, they do not wipe
their shoe bottoms against the welcome mat.
They are makeshift boxes smirking
with cardboard lips, gorging bad music.
They have discolored teeth and bad hair.
Every bit of darkness helps. Everything else
kills them. Their toxic mushrooms
hunker down on the cellar floor.
- Kristine Ong Muslim 2014
Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of three books, most recently We Bury the Landscape (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012) and Grim Series (Popcorn Press, 2012). Her poems and short stories have been published and anthologized in the likes of Existere, Gargoyle Magazine, Sou’wester, Southword, The State, and Dadaoism (An Anthology) (Chômu Press, 2012). She lives in a small farming town in the Philippines and serves as poetry editor for LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction. Website: http://kristinemuslim.weebly.com/