The Spirit of the Thing

This was the way it was. The handle
burned. The heat was like a dog in rut.
To touch, they said, was verboten.
I didn’t, of course; to live and let it be
is what I wanted, but to live
like this may be irrational.
Even the most useless radiators steam; the stove,
much hotter, may only glow in the dark.
Then a little Mozart popped open at the top,
bells rang, as if alarmed. To this,
I want you to know, my consciousness responds. Even here, without lights,
an awareness of one’s whereabouts is obvious.
How did I get here, you ask.
It does not take long
before pressure begins to rise,
the little Mozart whistles a tune.
I should know that one; I have lived here so long.
When the water boils
the whole potpourri of things begins to cook,
and I think of the line, “whistling while you work.”
Inside the water turns to steam.
The mechanism shrieks, as though in pain.
We, who have applied this as our modus operandi
merely listen, impressed by the technique.
Either, out of the Mozart, comes a cloud
which is the spirit of the thing,
or it remains closed.
Sometimes it explodes
and whatever is inside never gets to emerge.