A small crimson velvet pouch
With jewelry from his mother
His only connection to her
He opens it slowly,carefully, apprehensively
His heart pounding inside his chest
Drops of sweat dotting his upper lip
The silent ghost now attempting to speak:
An oval, Art Deco gold locket,
An amethyst ring,
A silver key
His stubby,clumsy fingers stumbling to open the locket
The tiny door to the past flies open
Cradling a curly lock the color of midnight’s end
Holds it to his nose and closes his eyes
Trying to breathe in her spirit
Puts it back in its cradle with utmost care
So as not to disturb the ghost in the grave
Picks up the amethyst ring
Reads the inscription: “Para mi esposa preciosa”
He knows his mother’s language; not the author behind the words
A tear trickles down his left cheek; mixing with nervous sweat
The ornately carved ring-resembles his intricate life
The multifaceted stone-his many faces
Picks up the silver key-it’s not dainty
Something a man would carry
Holds on to it tightly- takes it to the locked chest
Will it open it?
What’s in the chest?
Are all the rumors true?
With knees knocking,stoops down, inserts the silver key
It slides in,finding its long lost home
He opens the cedar chest
A scent of tobacco and Chanel No. 5 escape
At the bottom of the chest, a hand written note
A woman’s dainty cursive rests on yellowed,wrinkled stationary:
A rose in pre-bloom
But that time did not wither
A Promise of love
A love that wasn’t-but that still lives on.
Her picture falls out,he flips it over
A bloody finger print stamped in back
Are the rumors true?
Did she suffer violence?
Is the finger print hers?
Or does it belong to her killer?
Too many damned clues-waiting to be solved
He puts it all back
Curiosity has vanished like a mist into the pre-dawn
Stuffs her picture-a young woman with a pained smile
in his coat pocket,next to his heart
Leaves the mystery in the chest
Reads the note-eulogizing her.
Closes the chest
Never looking back
EVA SANTIAGO copyright 2013