This poem first appeared in Envoi #147 (June 2007, Cinnamon
More than 500 of Kristine Ong Muslim's
poems and stories have appeared or are forthcoming in over 200
publications worldwide. Her poetry has appeared in Boxcar Poetry
Review, Chimera Magazine, GlassFire
Magazine, GUD Magazine, The Pedestal Magazine, Radiant
Turnstile, Sawbuck, Tipton Poetry Journal, Turnrow,
This is how Mr. Skinner met her:
she shows up in her favorite café
during sunny afternoons, orders a latte,
dodges curses from other ladies
by simply tracing with her finger
a circumference of friendly silence
around her imaginary periphery.
She smiles the peculiar practised smile
she reserves for men and the appraising,
confident one she does with ease for women.
She is the arc of silver light from a 9 A.M. sun,
so beautiful no one can stand to kill her.
She nods at pudgy old Mr. Skinner in the corner,
and ossified, he nervously nods back.
Now a stray cat who follows her home, Mr. Skinner
proposes, buys her a Jaguar and a house with six bed-
rooms, an heirloom grand piano, and bare marble floors.
Every morning when he goes to work, she opens
her door to strangers, tramples his vegetable garden.
At night when he arrives home, he ends his daily
search for catacombs on his front door.