The Migration of Winged Jukeboxes by Beth Cato

when machines grew sentience
it was the jukeboxes
who created wings of iridescent discs
and bones born of neon tube

their migration is a sight to marvel
as those flocks ascend, aglow
rain rolls off their arched tops
while their wings flap in perfect time

crescendo swells lift them to the jet stream
soaring high on the notes of Steve Perry
low to the gospel croons of Elvis
other machines grovel on the quilt of earth below

but jukeboxes don’t merely know music
it vibrates through their frames, and every number
designates a disc, a melody, a deeper meaning
the leader of their V-shape spins tracks

Abba, the Temptations, Olivia Newton John;
heavy-bodied, their wings clatter rhythm
as rainbow lights glint across the underbellies
of long gray clouds, a splash of color and song

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham. She’s the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER steampunk fantasy series from Harper Voyager. Follow her at and on Twitter at @BethCato.

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