Our nurse caps askew. Bobby pins trailing. Fake clouds, pulled from the insides of pillows, strewn between the replanted pines. The lawn glowing behind everything as we ran.
We left a piece of you behind on that hospital bed. The wrong kind of humour leaking from your ears. Thy knee. Thy wee finger. Still, you managed to pull my hair back when I hurled. Ashes, more ashes.
Thy twisty ankle. Bodkin. Like bodice. Like bustle. Dimity bleached at our busts, with a corset of mattress ticking. Brown locks flowing o'er our sickly brows. Like bristles. Rubber evening gloves sewn together at our tips. Bruises covered with white shoe polish. All our shoes matched, ivory-yellow, old-lady lace-ups with heavy crepe soles.
Two girls with matching brown locks, stuffed into the same white uniform. I tried not to breathe, you cinched the sewn-in belt tighter. We tried a cure, or rather, we tried a talking cure. Thy ring-around-the-rosie.
Leeches, applied with fingers and Q-tips. Bite marks, punctuation up your inner elbow. Still, you managed to lie still while I cupped you, red welts raised, nary a wince. Our nurse caps as pale as cat ears, white triangles above our bangs. Thy false wood tooth. Thy clatter.
You kept a wee beastie in your uniform pocket – he gnawed your nails while you stroked him. You told me such tales. Thy blood and bile in bowls. Thy eye-bones, swimming. Thy buboes.