The Box

I started to wonder what would happen if time could be contained inside a wooden box
And if every New Year’s Eve
When the clock struck twelve
Each person on Earth was presented with a box and a key
Upon which they could choose to open their box of time
And see forth into the future
Of the coming year
Through dusty crystal ball
Or talisman
Or hand-scribbled clue left in the box
Perhaps each person’s box would contain something different
Unique as the person themself
One soul might open their box and find a roll of film and a projector
From which they could literally watch the entire year to come
Agonizing in advance over certain unpleasant chapters
And rewinding to watch their favorite scenes over and over
Reliving the best moments before they’ve even been lived
Another person might find a hefty script or a novel
Their life in print
Every word of their future dialogue written down, play by play
And seemingly unchangeable
Written in ink, not pencil
Or perhaps for some, this mysterious fortune-telling box would contain something much less concrete
Maybe the only thing they’d find in that large wooden box would be a small, simple, poem
Cryptic but telling
Words that could be interpreted and misinterpreted a thousand different ways
The box would deliver them truth and still leave them guessing
Or maybe for an unlucky few
When they opened their annual New Year’s box, they’d find –
Nothing –
Just an empty box
The end of their future near

Imagine the possibilities
And the danger
If the future was not this foggy thing
Unclear and out of reach
But instead something that you could hold in your hands
And if it were so
And your very own box was laid out in front of you
Would you open it?
Would you look?
Would you dare?
Would I?

-Lucy Schwartz