box of jars

heidi shira tannenbaum
The creaking of the upstairs back door
dissolved into bells that belonged elsewhere,
not the dark corridor that led to the water closet.
She could not tell if it was a carnival or a church
where they originated, if it was the light tap of a xylophone
from a schoolhouse music hour or a clanging
call to dinner in a half-ruined but still-palatial mansion.
This was the thought, made of lightning and rain,
when she accidentally struck the gramophone man, 
and falling, saw the silvery anklet of a bare-footed girl.
The girl called out something as she left. A deep voice,
but in the staccato words of another language.
The whispers of the shopkeepers
hissed so loud as to drown out all meaning.