I | Somewhere

What’s your name?

‘Where am I?’

Your name, please.

‘There’re too many lights.’


The nurse
gives me a funny look.

Her scrunched

makes her look
looks constipated.

Tell me your name.

‘You’re angry with me.’

Her eyes
meet mine boldly.

They’re like chocolate balls.

‘Why are you
‘angry with me?’

Do you not remember
your name?

On the paper
in front of her,
she wrote


in the blank after the word


Did she think
she can fool me

into giving an incorrect answer

so she can lock me up



The nurse nods.
The grip on her pen

Yes, your name.
Do you remember

your name?

I hold back my laughter.

‘I don’t know.
‘I’ve never been here before.’




My arms
cannot be lifted

from the armrests.

My feet
don’t separate
from the legrests.

The wheelchair

even when I tell it to stop.

‘The seatbelt’s
‘too tight,’
I complain.

No one’s listening.


It’s dark now.

A contrast
from the room they brought me to.

are not here anymore.

I am alone.

It’s quiet.
It’s uncomfortable.

I squirm.

There’s hair on my face.
It’s itchy.

I lick it.


They’re in Chinese
so I know

they’re real.


Maybe not.


The darkness rumbles.

It causes me

to tremble
all over.


We’re moving.


There are no windows
in this vehicle.

I try to think back

to what that nurse

She kept asking
for my name

even though she knew it.

She talked about something I can’t remember
so I stopped listening

at some point.

What do I remember?


Her face was different
from the usual nurse

who asked these questions

but they must have
all gone to the same school.

They can’t trick me though

into confessing
what I didn’t do.


I smile

in the trembling darkness.

I’m getting discharged.

You’re leaving this place.

That’s the final thing
the nurse said with a sigh

giving up on the questions.

I squirm
in the wheelchair.

The seatbelt cuts into my stomach
every time

the ambulance

hits a road bump.




There’s more though.

I remember
as the rumbling stops.

Door slams.
Voices get louder.

Light stabbing my eyes.

tip the chair backwards,

drag me
out of the darkness.

I don’t recognise my home.


It’s not your home.


My two escorts
wear dark blue uniforms.

They have guns
on their belts.

They wheel me
along an unpaved forest path.

The air smells of leaves.

I feel every branch
that has fallen on the ground,

every root
of the greedy trees.

‘Where am I?’

The escorts have earphones on.
They don’t reply me.

‘There’s too many trees.’

A spire peeks out
in the distance.

The building
beneath it

is not a skyscraper.

Am I still in Singapore?

We’ve gone back in time.

It’s a gothic mansion:

Walls of grey stone.
Gargoyles with eyes that follow me.
Spiky iron gates like spider legs.

There’s no path

leading up to the mansion

but beyond the gates
a stone pavement is lined with
manicured trees

and gnomes.

‘You’ve got the address wrong.’

The escorts ignore me.
The large wooden doors open.

A woman in white
descends the steps

and approaches.

Not an angel.
She’s wearing a white trench coat.

When the front doors close behind her,
the gates let out a beep

and click open.

She nods a greeting to the escorts.
Takes a file from them.

The gates close automatically
behind our backs.

She reads
while they free me from the wheelchair.

I wiggle my toes
to get feeling back.

The stone path
is smooth like plastic.

Smooth over time?
Or faked?

The woman holds out her hand.

‘Welcome to your new home, Fiona.’

Her voice has a Singlish accent.
She doesn’t ask
stupid questions.

I take her hand.

It’s warm.

She taps a card
on a concealed card reader.

The tall dark wood doors open.

It’s dark again.

As the doors close,
I see the escorts waiting

with the empty wheelchair

for the iron gates
to open again.


The woman
pulls me forward.

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