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



Adelia Ritchie, PhD

Science lover, contributing editor at, veggie gardener, expat