LXXII | Some Test

I’m tailed by the nurses
for a month.

They won’t leave
until they do


I think they’re overreacting.

But of course,
I don’t track these things—

like a normal girl.

The doctor is firm
even when I make a scene.

Boring questions.


Her eyes are kind.

Calculating, patient, bored.

The angel from the first day
was obviously

a hallucination.


The asylum is crowded.

David still has his escort
—that’s four nurses.

There’s a new patient:

So six nurses.

Asher escapes getting shadowed
and I’ll ask if why

if they’ll just relax

and let him talk to me.

He looks at me often,
so I know he wants to.

(At first I thought
he’s just feeling guilty

like he was



I remember.)

The one who used him

is me.


He’s not upset.

If anything,
he appears liberated.

I watch him
eat nasi lemak now,

Zuraida’s talking to Siti on his other side.

(They should just
sit together
if they want to talk.)

He’s ignoring them.

But sometimes
he’ll make comments.

I forgot

he can understand

His eyes meet mine.

A smile.

The pretty nurse
blocks my view of him

I glare at her

and turn back to my painting.

The face I’m contouring
is Tammie’s.

But if you tilt your head a bit,

it’s Asher

with guilt in his eyes
like before.

I let him hang around because we’re the same.

Now we’re not—
I blur out her/his smile—

I don’t know

what to do.




David’s nurses disappear first.

Then Siti’s.

She spends all day
in the studio.

Zuraida goes with her.

new friends.

I’m sure of it.

I check
just to make sure.

Siti just looks at herself
from all angles

at herself in the mirror.

Zuraida watches,
hair hanging in front of her face.

A talking statue.

The dissonant music

drowns out what they say.

But the girl swinging from the pole
has her lips pursed,

parting only to pant.

So I relax.

Tammie snarls at me.

Makes a face
I cannot bear to look at.

So I leave.


I tell my white shadows
they can leave too

but they ignore me.

After some time,

I’m allowed to approach Asher.

He’s happier
than I expect.

I’m unhappier
than I expect.

We sit in the greenhouse,

staring separately
at the same rowan trees.

He doesn’t apologise.

I still wait for it.


Like an idiot.


He talks about why
he’s happy.

It’s the first thing he tells me.


You’re alive,


he keeps saying.

boils like a kettle
in my chest.

I don’t know what to do about it.

He takes my hand.

The nurses
almost react.

He waits

for them to return to their

before he says,


Let’s continue being friends.


The frustration

It hurts now.

Like lava
melting my organs.

I wonder why.

It’s good,
isn’t it?

Since Tammie’s even angrier at me now.

I won’t be alone

Maybe I should think about dying again.

A future
for the both of us…



It’s out of reach now.

Burnt to a crisp
in my chest.

Asher lapses into silence
when I don’t respond

to anything he says.

He squeezes
my hand



A month(?) later,
I’m awakened early

just to pee into a cup

for them to dip
the plastic stick into.

It’s negative.

After medicine time,

I realise I liked having them there—
as white shadows.




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