i pretended to be ill on the days of the school parade.
before she had me figured out,
my mother would kiss the back of my neck
to see if i needed my temperature taken.
the days when i was truly ill,
her hands would grab brown glass bottles
with liquids that were sometimes yellow, sometimes pink.
her fingers flirted with their bodies like life models
and her gemstone knuckles shone with lack of blood.
i don’t know if it was because of the strawberry taste of the medicine
or because of her hands,
but when i was four, i drank the whole bottle.