The Movements of Mechanical Objects
by Rebecca Morgan Frank
Someone keeps opening the music box
in the middle of the night.
It used to play "Clair de lune," now
plays Muzak versions of the latest pop song.
I sleep with one eye open.
The figurine has surely been pushing
her way out. Her toes are so slender
she can pry open the lock.
Her sleek limbs bunch their muscles
as she lifts the lid, and
for seconds, she looks
like a sumo wrestler in her tutu.
If you asked her, she'd tell you
what it's like to be buried alive.
To spin on command.
She's been studying to be a DJ.
There are lots of classes on the internet,
she'll say. A girl can be anything.
But the dark trope only lets
her rise into a sea of pink
with plush dolphins.
Maybe I'll grow up,
she says, looking around,
to be a veterinarian.
You don't tell her that her veneer
is wrinkling and her belly
bulges like a squeezed tube.
Her eyes chip
away without her notice.
It won't be long until
she's retired. The body
junked and thrown
from the box. Separated
from everything that moves.