Turnkey, turnkey,

Spiral cogs in the lock

The purveyor’s shop of antiquities

Dusty shelves,

Lights dim,

The wooden clock goes,

Tick tock.


Trolls of Nordic lineage

Parade behind the counter,

Frozen in time,

Their little faces possess secrets

Worth far more than any coin once tendered at the shop register, the old relic.


That noise..

It grows louder,


A row of Bisque dolls animate a wink down the line,

In their lace dresses,

Movements synchronous,

As the clock strikes three.


The shopkeeper rises in the backroom,

Among boxes filled with one man’s junk,

Another man’s treasure

The noise beckons..

Fumbling through the boxes,

Searching for its source, the sublime


At last he finds it among the knickknacks and tchotchkes,

A vintage music box,


The 1920’s,

Another time, another place.


He dusts it off, gently

With a fine linen cloth

Ornate, opulent,

Golden-leaf to trim the most intricate detail


The rattling noise screeches,

An unbearable cacophony

Reaching into his breast pocket,

He finds the answer.

The turnkey twists inside the familiar music box,

As it opens, the horrendous sound is muted, at last.


In its place rises the symphony of angels,

Two porcelain dancers on the platform stage,

The gentleman in fine waistcoat,

One hand caressing the small of the noble woman’s back,

The other entwined with her delicate fingers, painted with apricot lacquer.


Into the night, the lovers keep in step to the Baroque tune,

And the old shopkeeper, he remembers,

(tears glistening his pale cheek)

This music box,

An anniversary gift,

To his wife, in 1927

They had celebrated 50 years together,

That Winter’s day.


A treasure trove of memories,

The music box a mere memento

Of a life well-lived.

Two hearts, two souls,

Beating in harmony

Nurturing a family with love, wisdom, and uplifting grace.

Children, now grown, with children of their own.


Her face lit up with wonder and delight,

At the sight of this Viennese music box.

“A little something to remember us by, always, 

As long as we each keep the turnkey by our heart.” 


She passed away,

Nearly seven years later,

By the foot of the bed,

With the music box playing on the dresser,

Its enchanting melody.


The shopkeeper was sobbing now,

He cradled his love one last time,

Before placing the keepsake back in its box,

Where it will rest until the old wooden clock in the shop strikes three the next day.


Drifting past a bronze mirror in the storage room,

He noticed that it reflected only the shelves behind him.

For 87 years had past hence,

He was no longer there,

Only his spectre remained in the once bustling antiquities shop,

Rising each day at the bewitching hour,

When, somewhere in the Universe,

They embrace,

Both holding the turnkey close to their hearts,

Their love transcending all of time and space,

They dance, a Waltz eternal.

A key adorns the wall at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, on the Summer Solstice, 2014. Photo By: Lisa Ellen Goodman
A key adorns the wall at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, on the Summer Solstice, 2014. Photo By: Lisa Ellen Goodman