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It’s an almond, she tells me, probing thin, long metal chopsticks through two holes in my skull. You know how these things bind receptors, secrete hormones into the bloodstream like honey dripping from a golden spoon. The apple is on hiatus. At this age, the Queen can't remember which flasks have undergone oxidation-reduction reactions, which kill, which anti-age. Now stay still, she says. The sun is going to peel my skin away before she finishes. Prods laterally, then deeply. I ask for apples anyway. Wrong spot: stick nicks pituitary gland. Thought you’d killed your appetite long ago. A feather for the casket, an eyelash for your fingertip, a finch could carry you. I hush my stomach, coax orexin into the soil, under earthworms and bone and glass chipped from a mirror. My blinks grow into skies. Is this right? I ask. She plucks and pinches, replaces hormone secretion with snow, rubies, ebony. Best preserved like hard liquor, childhood observed from a distance. She withdraws the sticks, seals my skull. I ask for apples and receive air.