XC | Some Cupboards

The very familiar giggle
wakes up

the cells in my body.

Brightens up
the studio.

It’s still dark—
I can see greyish light
from the doorway

so I know

there’s no light
in here.

But I can see.

I pull the leotards out.

Am I

touching her?

Why is she here—

inside this cupboard?

In the darkness,
I see her,

a humanoid shape.



Inside the leotard

In fact,

the whole room
is full of leotard cupboards.

Other than
the distant sound of

spraying water,

it’s totally quiet.

The humanoid in the cupboard
I’d just unearthed,


The shelf below creaks

like paper.

I find myself

looking into

glowing grey eyes.

And then,
I’m touching her,

fingers in her fluffy hair,
trailing down her temples,
tracing the curve of her lips,
sliding down her neck,
squeezing her bony arms,
running down her chest,
her back,
her legs.

I’m crying


my throat is dry.

I thought you died.
I thought you were gone.

I thought you left.

I thought…

Everything else
is incoherent.

Tammie sits there

on the shelf in the cupboard
of the studio room,

watching me


There’s that apologetic smile
on her face.

I want to slap her

across the face

for making me worry like that.

But I know

what she’ll say,


Worry about yourself.
You’re the helpless one.



There’s unspoken tension
in the air.

Smoke is darkening
the corridor outside

despite the sprinklers.

The heat should be
seeping in too,
but it’s cold here.

Like this is the greenhouse.

But there are no rowan trees, only

and rows and

of cupboards.

The mirror
that lines the walls

make the rows of cupboards
seem to stretch
far into the darkness.

The faint gleam
in the mirror

marks the reflection of the doorway

but the cupboards

just stretch out

There’s a lot of space

between each cupboard.

(I have to walk five steps
to reach the next one.)

And the room

is bigger

than it should be.

I take Tammie’s hand
tossing the leotards around her
to the ground.

I pull her from the cupboard.

She doesn’t budge.

I pull harder.

Her grey eyes glow

Her apologetic smile
gets bigger.

‘Tammie, don’t scare me like this.’

She stays still
and her skin

becomes colder

beneath my fingers.
She’s shaking.

Then, she’s giggling again.


Fifi, where am I?


I frown at her.

The studio.
The study room caught fire.

Are you hurt?
Why are you asleep here?
Let’s get to safety.

Her head doesn’t move.

Her smile doesn’t waver,

even though
she’s talking to me.

Fear grips me

and I feel my injured leg
throb painfully.

Her head jerks,


a single creak,

tilting to the side
like a doll.

Her eyes glow brighter.


Where am I?
Where am I?
Where am I?




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