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a box of dust

a box of dust is left
away from the eyes of light.
the stale air embraces it
and says "i will hold you forever."
and the box shudders and its contents-
dry remnants locked inside-
shift a little, mimicking life.
lacquered shell, blanched from days near sunbeams
its cargo crumbled to a mystery,
to a nothing, to an ending.

this might once have played music,
plucked out a tune naive and plaintive
or shown an image, diorama
some magical tromp l'oeil
to captivate and entertain and puzzle;
ladies and gentlemen- behold!
presented for your amusement
the sweet story in a light-box.

or maybe it his treasure maps
transcripts of ancient secrets
long since discovered and discarded
stained with the work of those
who passed them on.

could it be pandora's box
recovered from the fog of myth
its unwelcome contents cast
unwittingly throughout the world
[by the woman who had to know]
and that remnant hope languishing
in a wooden tomb?
it could.

and the air rests thick
around it,
showering floury dirt in micrograms,
committing the vessel
to its resting place
with all the worthless history
it holds.

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