CV | Sometime Later

Where is Tammie?

Who’s this Valerie girl?
What happened

to Tammie?

This Valerie…
she was never at medicine time.

It has always been
just eight of us.

That’s what Tammie said.


There are always eight patients.


She repeats

‘Who’s Tammie?’

I stare at her.
She stares at me.

The sky slowly


I don’t dare to think
about what they did to her.

We just reconciled.

She gave me
one night
to think it over.

My heart is pounding
and all I hear

is the blood rushing through my body.

A drum thumps
in my chest.

Valerie is speaking.

All of it.
Nothing makes sense.

Eagles in school buildings,
high top sneakers and chrysanthemum,
how she knows everything.

‘Where is Tammie?’

She laughs.

She laughs.

She keeps laughing
until she chokes

on her own saliva.

Now she’s coughing.

She hasn’t

in a long time.

I know a nurse
will come in soon.

(They see me here.)

I’m wasting
precious time.

Tammie isn’t here.

They’ve taken her.

Valerie’s blue eyes are unafraid,

even as she
          closes them again.

I wonder if she
has seen Tammie,

if she knows what Tammie means to me,

who I am,

what they’ve done.

When I stand up
and leave,

a plastic knife falls,

off the bed,
onto the ground

behind me.


Where is Tammie?

She’s not dead.
She can’t be.

I close the door
behind me

and run.

I bump into the nurse
on the way to Valerie’s room.

I don’t stop

even though she

calls my name.

Chases me.
Down the stairs.

The eyes of the wall art
follow us closely.

Some of the paintings

are different
from before.

I’m running
across the main hall.

Lights flicker
behind me.

I don’t stop.

The study room door
still can’t be opened.

The storage room
is dark.

Everything’s asleep.

I reach the studio room,

tripping over

Falling on my face.

I fell this same way
during the fire.

Also searching

for Tammie.

Instead, I found
cupboards and corpses.

It’s a hallucination!

I stand up.

The metal pole,
one cupboard,
the CD players.

My own haggard face

in the mirror.


The nurse
appears like a ghost.

I see her tap my shoulder
in the mirror.

I recite the names
of the patients they have killed.

Is Tammie dead?

I don’t remember all of them.
I can’t recall.

I’ve already forgotten.

But I remember Tammie
and relief washes

through me

like a cold shower.
I’m awake now.

The nurse helps me
to my feet.

Deposits me
in my armchair.

Tends to the wounds that have

opened again.

I’ll find Tammie.
I’ll find her.

I blink to distract myself
from a pain I don’t feel.

Her face is familiar.
She’s frowning at me.

Scolding me

for running inside the asylum.

I’m numb,
blood still rushing through
my ears like a deluge.




It’s some time later

when I can think straight

The plain nurse
won’t let me stand up

until my leg

stops bleeding.

I must have gone to the wrong room.
Valerie’s room

instead of Tammie’s.

I didn’t sleep well.

I didn’t think about
what Tammie wanted me
to think about.

I’ll think about it now.

I’ll find Tammie.
I’ll find her.

The door
to the asylum


A new patient enters.

Her dark hair
is coming out of its ponytail.

She doesn’t walk.

The pretty nurse
isn’t using her phone

(for once)

but pushing the new girl forward
by the waist

into the main hall.

The plain nurse

under her breath.

About it being too early.

I catch
the new patient’s name.

Jing Yi.

Not that
it concerns me.

The pretty nurse
gets Jing Yi to sit

in the armchair that’s

usually empty
because Tammie

sits with me.

She walks over
to speak to the plain nurse.

They discuss Jing Yi.

I tune them out.

I need to look for Tammie.

And that’s
when the pretty nurse
addresses me.

She takes out her phone.

Glances at it.
Like it’s her script.


You have a visitor.


The plain nurse
is shaking her head,

lips pursed. Unhappy.

I want to laugh.
I don’t move.

I might be confused
but I’m not stupid.

Visitors aren’t allowed.


We never get visitors.




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