Poetry: “This Way to the Tower” by Kristine Ong Muslim

This Way to the Tower

Your faulty timekeeping device
has finally brought you here.
How the city teems with bodies,
the bodies of those who
dismembered their mute citizens.
What remains is the taut spirit
of morning, its dew-stricken air
made denser by swirling debris—
and you now understand
that not everything is allowed to settle,
that not everything is allowed to rest.
What remains—the glazed glass
hulls of skyscrapers, the charcoal
of what once were trees flanking
the entrance to the Grand Pavilion.
The beacon on the roof of Station Tower
still calls out for its long gone listeners,
prisoners, fugitives, redeemers. You imagine
hearing its faraway voice, a voice like that
of a deep-sea diver in a helmet and a suit.
The beacon rises above the ruins
of the city. Its metal array juts skyward—
a posture indicating either a truce or a threat
depending on where you are looking.

Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of We Bury the Landscape (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012) and Grim Series (Popcorn Press, 2012). Her stories and poems appeared in the likes of Southword, Sou’wester, and The State. Her online home is http://kristinemuslim.weebly.com/