The Wonderful Machine

You came through the door,

stumbling,

as if the world had chased you home,

planted on hand on the wall

to catch yourself,

so you didn’t collapse in the foyer.

You always said

you hated it outside.

The world had just expelled you

and the only safe place

left for you

was behind that door.

 

Never one content with comfort,

your bright and curious mind

would draw you out of doors

eventually,

that hint of discovery

always trumps persecution.

You’d be gone for a little while;

sometimes a day,

sometimes many,

but you’d always return

chaste,

fearful,

out of breath in the foyer.

 

You said that you had heard the bells chime.

Not at St. Vincent’s Cathedral,

no,

you said this was another kind.

A small, light bell,

like the kind inside a music box.

You claimed that outside,

in the bustle of the world,

you could hear

that whir and click

of the mechanism

and every so often,

the chime;

like a signal

permeating everything.

 

Sometimes,

you said you could almost feel

the tooth of each gear

setting into the other,

as if the grinding

of some great machine.

The whir and click,

you said,

were everywhere.

The chimes would ring

and out you went,

back in search of

your grand machine,

the thing you said

ran everything

and everyone.

 

I admit,

your claims drew curiosity

and I looked closer at watches

and music boxes

and thought long and hard

on whether you were correct

and not insane at all.

Was our reality,

just a machine?

a system of cogs and gears,

running ad inifinitum?

Were we built with purpose?

 

You left,

one sunny day in April.

You claimed that you were close

to finding the source

of the chimes that called you,

but you never returned;

were never seen again.

We mourned your disappearance greatly,

for we knew your mind had gone.

Your whispers

about machines in the sky,

in the water

and deep underground

and machines that looked and spoke like people.

 

You were harrowed

by the madness that took you

and where you went,

I hope you have found peace.

Amongst your things

I found a little music box.

It doesn’t work,

but maybe I can fix it.

Tinker with the gears

and get it to whir and click

and when it chimes,

I’ll think of you

and try to forget

about the madness

of this automated world

that you so feared.

Funny…

… I swear I just heard a bell ring.

Someone’s at the door.

 

HG – 2017

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