Kristine Ong Muslim

The Familiar

Little engine, little albino stray
what were you like before you came here?

What would your voice sound like if you could talk?
What would you say? Conjured out of tin cans, cereal boxes,
and telephone wires, you had no need for sleep,
for gratification, for skin grafts. All these years, those wants
did not even occur to you. Whether you were unhurt
or felt betrayed did not matter. Only that you could
somehow slip in my place and take the fall for me.

Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of We Bury the Landscape (Queen's Ferry Press, 2012) and several chapbooks, most recently Insomnia (Medulla Publishing, 2012). Her online home is