Once a Music Box

Inside the body
of the jeweled bird
a brass scroll with its silent braille
pings thin tines to song

a minuet in A minor
echoes along her emerald spine
only when nimble fingers
twist the turning key
just enough
not too much

she sang

one revolution too many
a spring could not withstand
such tension
something snaps
barely a gasp

The gilded feathers
then so much

No one remembers
how to repair
such things
or maybe
such things
have not been discovered yet.
We could open her
eviscerate the mechanism
to learn its secrets but

Better to tuck
the gleaming heart into a pocket
of air
a linen fold, out of reach
until a new instrument
is fashioned to turn
into music
and the hands
who can touch her
into song
are born.

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