(In which there is a boy, a man, and a curious box.)
I can’t imagine what the muzhiks would have thought of this.
They’d probably have me burned
The boy is not listening to the man; he is,
In a mixture of fear, wonder, and not a small bit of puzzlement,
Utterly transfixed by the box
Which sits between him and the man, who flutters his hands
Near to, yet never touching the strange box
With the two pieces of wire, one pointing straight up
Toward God, the other looped like a noose.
The man manipulates his fingers in delicate movements,
Like a man playing a pianissimo movement on a piano
Whose keyboard is embedded somewhere in the very air itself,
But the sounds… vaguely familiar, to be sure: he hears
The barking of a small dog, perhaps, or something much like
The faraway crow of a rooster filtered through the half-tones
Of the last moments of a dream, but not of this world or this life,
And, unconsciously, for his mother is of the old peasant stock,
He crosses himself, and then the boy hears himself say
In a voice not quite his own, that it surely requires a miracle
Or the result of some sort of magic
To make such a wonder as this machine.
The man stops his gesturing for a moment to look at the boy,
And then he bursts out laughing.
I didn’t figure out how it works so I could build this; I built it
So I could figure out how it works.