paper doll cutout



I pluck it free from the throes of the bloodbath,
scissor on the perforated lines where its paper-flesh
meets the world. It complains of tinnitus, tooth decay.

I cut out a belly button from a sheet of baby's skin, lick it,
stick it in place. She says she does not want it. I tell her
that all real girls have belly buttons. She finally agrees.

I curl her lashes. She blinks her eyes for the first time.
The fingers of her phantom limbs hide inside the drawer where
I keep my socks. They twitch while she paints her nails red.

Resurrection of a Paper Doll Cutout
originally published August 13, 2008

Kristine Ong Muslim has published more than 500 poems and stories in more than 200 publications worldwide. Her work has appeared in Abyss & Apex, Dark Wisdom, Mythic Delirium, Not One of Us, Tales of the Talisman, and Star*line. Her work also has received an Honorable Mention in Year's Best in Fantasy and Horror and twice won Sam's Dot Publishing's James Award for genre poetry.