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Folk Remedy


My mother drinks over proof Jamaican white rum

through the soles of her feet. Her skin soaks it up like 

a sponge absorbs water. She raves that it goes 

down much smoother this way with none of that bitter after

taste; no upset stomach to waste a good meal of ackee

and saltfish. 


Mother adds a handful of pimento seeds to the bottle. She swears

it sharpens the taste of the rum which will help to medicate her pains

away. Still her fingers are bent by that cursed arthritis who 

ignores both pimento and rum as it twist her to its will.


Today, my father asks for a bottle of his beloved Appleton Special 

Bend. He’s argued with mom for over twenty years, urging her

to let go of that brassy over proof white rum and join his

indulgence of caramel Appleton. 


Let the sweet fragrance of orange peel and banana fill your 

nostrils, he yells as he pours a quarter of the bottle over his feet. 

After ignoring his pleas for two decades, today she agrees. Mom

and dad sit side by side, feet in basins, holding hands as they ward 

off stiff fingers and aching backs.

Rory Doyle-02.jpg

Arlene Antoinette is a writer who enjoys dabbling in poetry, flash fiction, and song lyrics. Additional poetry by Arlene may be found at Foxglove Journal, Cagibi Lit, Better Than Starbucks, Mojave Heart Review, With Painted Words, London Grip, Literary Heist, and Your Daily Poem.

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