Cherry bomb

by Ivan Donn Carswell

I said goodbye and went to bed to die;
I never knew that they had lied – was quite
surprised they didn’t seem to care, I agonised,
refused to cry although in time the tears
were quietly shed. When I awoke and found
my sight, listened to the sound of night’s
retreat, got to my feet and went to greet
the day my Mother calmly said,
Oh, you didn’t die!
When sleep had kindly calmed my quaking
heart the evening’s panic fled, I slept
a deep and peaceful sleep, mindless
of my peers deceit, guileless in my tiny bed;
then I remembered why she asked.
I didn’t die! Hadn’t had to say goodbye
or suffer from my sister’s lies, didn’t meet
with my demise, indeed alive and well,
my lungs were whole, I breathed with ease
throughout the night, the rubber which
would blight my breath and kill the tissues dead
when lodged within the fatal spot had not.
So what had caused my fear?
The night before we’d had some fun with
dead balloons, you stretched a piece across
your mouth and sucked until a cherry bomb
emerged within your tongue, twisted off to seal
the bulb of air compressed in there so tight,
popped them with your teeth, or pinched
between the fingers ‘til they burst, or tritely
offered each in sacrifice. Suffice to say a bomb
went off just as I breathed. My sister said
with grave concern (though now I know in jest)
It’s not a joke, if rubber meets your lungs inside
you’ll die. Naïvely I believed, trusting to a fault
my sweetest sibling’s word. And thus was I
prepared to die. In retrospect I thought about
the claimed effects, my knowledge of anatomy
was rather bare although it seemed there were
some great anomalies. I connected these,
sadly noting that I had indeed been
well and truly had.
© I.D. Carswell

Last updated May 02, 2015