Poetry — December 14, 2015 11:19 — 1 Comment

Rapid Transit – Kristine Ong Muslim

For you, it is always rush hour, always
the same hydraulic hiss of electric train doors

tight-lipped about their vacuum,
their hull swollen with immediacy,

their carriage smothered
by your restlessness,

always the same familiar melodic ding
of train doors clamping shut

their seamless traction, their
gaskets and threaded metal joints—

the slow wear and tear prodding you along,
for all time oblivious to your aimless

lurching forward to whatever city
you have fled from this time.

Chafed by friction, the rails hold up,
hold down your roaring part of the world.


Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of We Bury the Landscape (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012), Grim Series (Popcorn Press, 2012), and A Roomful of Machines (ELJ Publications, 2015), as well as four forthcoming books—the short story collections Age of Blight (Unnamed Press, 2016) and The Butterfly Dream (Snuggly Books, 2016) plus poetry collections Lifeboat and Black Arcadia, both of which will come out from university presses in the Philippines. Her poems and short stories have appeared in Confrontation Magazine, New Welsh Review, The State, and elsewhere. She lives in a rural town in southern Philippines and serves as poetry editor of LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, a literary journal published by Epigram Books in Singapore.

One Comment

  1. Kelsey May says:

    Great line:
    “Chafed by friction, the rails hold up”

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What am I?

Bioluminescent eye
That sees by the shine
Of its own light. Lies

Blind me. I am the seventh human sense
And my stepchild,

Scientists can't find me.

Januswise I make us men;
Was my image then—

Remind me:

The awful fall up off all fours
From the forest
To the hours…

Tick, Tock: Divine me.

-- Richard Kenney