I just like the word, really. chokecherry.
for a couple of reasons. partly because
it’s a fun word to say. the combination

of sounds is almost like a curse word.
only harsher. instead of a soft fricative
like in fuck—which is also a fun word

to say—you get the abrasive affricate,
the ch, before the hard stop. the k. and
then another affricate. it keeps the mouth

busy. to pronounce it properly, you have
to take your time. savor the phonemes.
chokecherry. choke. cherry. and I like it

partly because of the image it brings
to mind. a malevolent little berry, brow
furrowed and always scheming, spreading

ill will wherever it happens to flower and
mature. it brings to mind other good words,
like astringent, which brings to mind witch

hazel and red wine. chokecherry. doesn’t
seem right that it’s only toxic to horses,
and that’s only after it’s started to wilt,

releasing cyanide, making the leaves taste
sweeter. making, as dr. urbino might add,
everything smell like toasted almonds and

unrequited love. chokecherry. bitter but
essentially harmless. not like cheat or fake.
nothing like fight. harmless, unlike kiss.