X | Some Memories

I sit under the glare of
white fluorescent lights,

tapping my feet
to the beat of Moonlight Sonata
in that windowless room.

The two nurses

in front of me
are indistinguishable

except for their eyes.

the one on the left

is wearing mascara.


Is that allowed?


‘I don’t think it matters,’
my words come out

without thinking.

The angmoh nurse
who led me here tenses
behind me.

My hand goes
to my waistband

but I’ve already hidden the knife

the rowan trees.

I have nothing to defend myself



The nurse on the left
gestures for me to take my medicine.

There are a dozen pills

just like yesterday.


‘It’s wrong again.’

They don’t respond.

If I spill the water,
will the doctor appear
like she did


I remember

trying that
at another hospital long ago.

It’s a vague memory,

and blurry
along the edges

So it must have been

a long time ago.

I was scared then.

Really scared.
I didn’t understand

what was happening to me.

Back then, I heard
that incessant laughing,

the talking crow.

I remembered the crow
saying the pills

were rocks

used to filled a vase

so it could drink the blood
at the bottom.

I couldn’t swallow
anything after that.

But they didn’t seem to understand.

They forced me
to take the pills.

So that night,

I took them willingly

and threw up across the ward.

It’s a bit fuzzy after that.

I remember
cloth ropes
knotted tight,

bloody red marks
from straining against it,

coughing up
blood and bile

just so I won’t have to


the rocks.

I didn’t want
the crow
to drink my blood.

Why am I suddenly remembering this?

These days
I have no problem


whatever pill
is given to me

and I let myself
get transported

to whichever hell

they’ve prepared for me.




Does it matter?

It’s tiring
to keep resisting.

To fight the same war

over and over.


I take my own sweet time now,

starting with the
five pills

I recognise.

Then, I take the rest


at a

watching the robotic eyes

of the nurses

the only human
part of them.

(They don’t react.)

I return to the main hall
and the dreary loop of Moonlight Sonata





I must have
fallen asleep

because Tammie’s calling my name,

shaking me awake.

I grab her arm,
pull her into the bathroom

and lock us in the same cubicle.

Water cascades

from the shower head

‘It’s the pills,’ I hiss at her.

She’s bewildered.

‘I fell asleep!
‘It’s definitely the wrong medicine!’


Isn’t that good?
You don’t get nightmares anymore.



‘What are you talking about?
‘They’re drugging us.’

Tammie smiles apologetically.

For once,
I feel like slapping her.

Is she being dense on purpose?

Tammie shuts off the water,
claps both hands over my ears.

She’s so close,

I smell the blood
in the vomit.



In. And out. In. And out.


I do as she says.


How do you feel?



She laughs.
Her hand slips

into mine.


You’re in here because
you’re getting better.

If you talk about being drugged, they’ll lock you up
in that hospital again.


Her grey eyes

grow bigger
and bigger

until they fill up my vision

and I can see her heart

between her rib bones.

‘Hey Tammie,’
I say,

pushing her back
so the stench isn’t so strong.

‘Do you remember
‘What happened before you came here?’

Her grey eyes

Search mine.


There’s a knock on the cubicle door.




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