SMALL SMALL GOAT OR 羊鬼泡面 by Emily Lu

  1. I was the most vocal opponent of article 94.1, a new hospital by-law permitting employees to outsource labour to ghosts. I wrote to the department head an ostentatious but sincere email defending the sanctity of patient care. They referred me to another committee, started a new subcommittee, requested further submissions of appendices, etc. The next day, I went to find the ghosts.
  1. When I remembered the small small goat, it was a month later. I opened the fridge expecting death. It was standing on a side dish where I last saw it, unaffected by the cold. Its eyes unblinking. My immense relief sat horizontal in my chest, teetering, solid.
  1. I had been blamed immediately for it. All of my roommates believed I had something to do with its appearance.
  1. Easy, there were loads of ghosts around the hospital these days. I found a team on lunchbreak in the east stairwell. Their leader was a resident doctor which was for the best because they all loved to please, even after death. I e-transferred five ghosts to start immediately.
  1. The small small goat’s hair was stuck up on one side, giving it a stormblown appearance. I offered it what I had on hand: antacids and deluxe instant noodles. After 3 minutes, I lowered the small small goat into the as advertised luxurious six-packet soak. The water level came up to its chin.
  1. I no longer responded to email. The ghost team lead visited to discuss extending our contract. I set down the instant noodle cup. The steam curled in front of her.
  1. If this were a Cdrama, the misunderstanding would last at least ten years. If this were a Kdrama, by episode 16 I’d find out I killed her through some prior oversight. If I were the glowing, oily sheen protagonist. If she told me she only consumes redemption arcs in the afterlife, I’d believe her.

 


Emily Lu is a poet and resident physician in psychiatry. Her first chapbook Night Leaves Nothing New (Baseline Press 2019) was shortlisted for the bpNichol chapbook award.

Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower

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