There’s an Old Trunk in the Attic

A love poem


Photo by Flora Westbrook from Pexels

unopened for decades
full of dog show ribbons
desert sage from Sufi camp
worry beads & camping gear
a speckled stone from his farm in France —
locked tight, it keeps its secrets.

She kneels before it
key in hand —
lock rusty, stiff —
gray dust thick with time.
Sensing her presence,
the old trunk shivers.

A lone fly buzzed her ear.
Moisture bloomed above her lip,
her cheeks scalding pink.
Sun arrowed through the skylight
illuminating snow-clouds of dust,
spiderwebs, half-eaten insects.
Her breath stirred the stillness.

She flips the lock open
and lifts the lid.
Her eyes close —
perfume of sage,
mustiness of aged paper.

Hundreds of thin blue airmail envelopes —
from Frankfurt, Paris, Strasbourg —
his familiar scrawl decorates.
A hot tear drops, sculpting
a tiny crater in the dust.

The ghost of her father
begins to speak.

–– Introduction to my memoir about my father, De Ward Ritchie, Sr.

Adelia Ritchie, 2020