XXIII | Some Things Forgotten


That’s right…

I have
a family.

In my recollection
of the happiness sandwich,
my mother was there.

That means

there’s a father too.

(I can’t remember
his face.)



Why do I

want to cry?


A hazy picture
comes to mind.

We’re at a HDB playground,

I’m calling for Mummy
at the top of my lungs.

Beside me,
at the top
of the largest slide,

someone smaller than me

is stamping his feet,
repeating my call.

Hands filled with grocery bags,
she’s distracted

talking to Papa.

We call louder,

my brother and I.

they turn to watch us

slide down together
          at the same time

Then we’re running,

towards them,
into them.

Did you see? Did you see?
We sing,
dancing and jumping,

like we’ve climbed

Mount Everest.

They were warm,
those eyes

that look like mine.

Four, I say.
There are four of us.

The doctor
stares at me

like a CCTV.



There were four of you.


I stare
back at her,


She shuffles
the papers
in front of her

before she speaks again.


You hurt your brother
when you had one of your episodes.


‘What episodes?’


He was in the ICU for three days

before he died.


I open my mouth
to accuse her of conspiracy

but there’s a blankness in my mind
where memories should be

It’s true.

The doctor
looks down at her papers
as she continues


accusations against me.


That was the incident
that made this your new home.

But it’s not

the only incident.

You locked your friends in a cupboard,
called the police to report aliens and
wandered along highways at night instead of going home.

Last year,
you stopped going to school.


She pauses here
to let the paper drop onto the table.

Her hands meet
and fold into each other.

Her eyes soften.


There’s no conspiracy, Fiona.
You’re here because
you have


After what happened, they’re scared
so you’ll be taken care of here

for the rest of your life.

Just accept it.




Tammie puts her face close to mine
so I can’t keep ignoring her.

Her sour breath
makes me flinch
and scowl.

She moves so the stench is more bearable.


Do you really not remember anything? 


We’re in my bedroom,
inside the asylum.

It’s not 9pm
but I’m being fed

new medicine

that makes me drowsy

so they made an exception
and opened my room

for me to lie down whenever.


I decide

I’m just going to lie here



comes to see me

and we talk,

ignoring the two nurses
who have become

my shadows once more.

I shake my head
as she bounces

on the edge of my bed
like a restless bunny.

She smiles,

As if

that makes it better.
As if

by apologising,


my memories come back,
my problems go away.

‘Killing someone,’

I choke on my words.

Tammie’s getting blurry
in front of me.

‘How can I forget something like that?’

Tears fall from my eyes.

Tammie remains

‘Being able to tell what’s real
‘is my human right.’

Strange noises
are coming
from my mouth, my throat.

A wailing sort of sound.

The rancid smell of vomit
engulfs me

but my chest is heaving so hard



to have Tammie pressed up
against me.

Hands around my waist.

Chin digging into my shoulder.

Breath in my ear,

then singing.


Blood is shed for a reason,
we’ll never get along.
Just leave me for a season,
we’ll turn into a song.

Don’t worry Fifi,
nothing’s gone wrong.




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