Arsenic Lobster poetry journal
Issue Nineteen
Spring 2009
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The Doll Handler Tells the Truth about Them
Kristine Ong Muslim

The dolls have nothing to hide.
They envy our show of white light,
our puffs of nicotine breath.
They like to watch us destroy
what we cannot give up.

They say that we are one half
sleeplessness, one half hunger.
Growing up inside a house full of
miniature trees taught them
to remain stunted, happy, and safe.

Each dollhouse door dreams of a window
and an eye looking past it.
Each dollhouse bottle collects glitter dust,
a season's worth of arsenic. The dolls have
the hands of the gentlest of ghosts.

That is why I never take what they have to give.
The loneliest radio in the world
has a belly filled with static; the dial
pokes through the bone, blisters the finger tip.
I hear the dolls whisper on every frequency.

About Kristine Ong Muslim

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