Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Thirty-one
Spring 2013
The Happiness Bottle
Kristine Ong Muslim

Little illusion, little stench of hope
what were you like before you came here?

One squirt from your retractable neck
and our vision swims out of focus,
our daydreams distend landlocked.
We are suddenly and inexplicably happy.
For years, we secretly used you
on our broken daughters who
pretended to eat their vegetables,
on our dead sons who, night after night,
hammered boat planks into roller coasters.
On days when we knew for sure that we
were ready to die, we hide you inside
our pockets, drive to the park or
the breakwater facing the sea at low tide.
One squirt from your retractable neck
and we float, red balloons of desperation,
laughing, laughing away from here.

About Kristine Ong Muslim

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