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The Marble Machine

"An uncle's gift to an abandoned child"

Published onDec 24, 2022
The Marble Machine

Photo by Vlad Alexandru Popa:

So many lovely mornings spent with these
Five rows of coral wood in tracks aligned;
This heirloom toy has welcomed trembling knees
And hands to spin spun glass down planes inclined.

My father’s mother watched rough wood grow mild
Beneath the lathe that smoothed the splinters bare;
An uncle’s gift to an abandoned child
Whose loving heart learned only how to share.

And now my daughter sends the cat’s-eye spheres
To blaze their rainbow trails down every rung;
The pitches shift for my delighted ears
Until at last the tonic pitch is sung.

Five generations have enjoyed this fun—
Each sing our joy until our path is done.

Joyce E. Kelley is a professor of English at Auburn University at Montgomery and serves as an editor for THAT Literary Review.


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