Sit sweet-mouthed in the doctor’s office in your best
‘reliable witness’ costume, ghosts braiding your hair. Appear
ill but not in need. Competent but not complicated. Well- 

spoken but not too prepared. Memorize side effects. Dress neatly.
Smooth your skirt. Still your face. Controlled
substances means you can’t cry if she says no. Good

girls don’t want it this bad so you don’t tell her
about the haunting. How they find you 
crumpled on your own doorstep trying to get your shaking 

keys through the door. How they paint you into bed, legs
calved in metal. You don’t tell her about the days spent unhooking
yourself from well-meant prescriptions. But what do you know 

better than your own body. Your own 
fever. Your own hands on your brow. Your own 
stealth. Your own storms. Your own 

sorrow. Your own safety. Your own pain. Your own
falls. Your own fault. Your own fault. Your own body
and its haunted halls and absentee owner.


Nisa Malli is a writer and researcher, born in Winnipeg and currently living in Toronto. Her poems and essays have been published in Arc Poetry, Carte Blanche, Cosmonauts Avenue, Grain, GUTS, Maisonneuve, Policy Options, Room Magazine, The Malahat Review and elsewhere. She holds a BFA in Writing from the University of Victoria and has completed residencies at the Banff Centre and Artscape Gibraltar Point. Her first chapbook is forthcoming from Baseline Press in Fall 2019.