MUSICAL BOX

KEVIN CASEY

 
 

After the Great War, Silas Talbot

had the men from Skowhegan run a few strands

of copper wrapped in tar tape through the silt

at the bottom of Long Pond, three miles to where

he worked in the woods with his wife. For years

the thin amber note of their gas light was lost

in the gulf of night, blue waves of snow
deadening the hum of their small cabin.

 
But once their telephone was installed,

it was only weeks before his wife

turned her mind to the upright piano
Silas had carted in years earlier,

to keep her occupied so far from town.

 
And for years afterwards, half the village

would call in to the party line on Friday

and Saturday evenings to hear her play

for an hour after dinner, wearing

her Sunday finery–flared Bakelite bells

resting on tables up and down main street,

and all the valley a musical box

ringing beneath its lid of quartz and sable.

 

 
 

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