It is black silk,
some Chinese lady’s old cheongsam fragment.
I run my fingers over a chartreuse pattern
of leaves punctuated by plum blossoms
and scattered golden showers.
The top of the box gives, spongy to the weight
of fingers. My hangnail snags
the cloth, pulls up a hair-like black loop.
An ornate false-gold snap clamps
shut the lid.
The cloth is worn along the bottom edge
near a gold and maroon pavilion, where
sitting lovers should be, but are not.
A scent memory of grandmother’s vitrine
rises when I press my nose to the bottom.
What is inside?
Pry open the clasp with an awkward thumb.
On the blood-red velvet interior snuggle
two blue balls with yellow Happy faces.