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who swallowed a cherry, my

pretty, who swallowed a cherry?

all night

they watched her

while her throat narrowed

to the size of a bullet.

the tongue of the clock

was pulled out by time.

the hands slid to the ground

and lay there, exhausted.

the silken arytenoids

in the forbidden castle

were drawn closed,

a curtain.

in the dimmed drawn breath

of the hospital room,

the flower children watched

their garlands wither.

four men came to see

the golden-haired princess.

they knelt down on top of her

and fed her life through a tiny tube.

they plucked her cherry

out by the pip

and pipped death

at the post,

they gave her the kiss of life,

and the princess awoke.

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Photo by Mike South: Swollen, cherry-like inflamed epiglottis in acute epiglottitis.