The past sits in front of me

In the old, battered trunk

That I carried it in these many years

I rarely take this trunk out

Of the attic crawl space

It is dusty and makes me sneeze

When I wipe it off

There are multiple padlocks

And straps keeping the lid securely in place


Opening this trunk requires

Mental and physical preparation

I like to have a chair and a lion tamer’s whip

Nearby just in case

A butterfly net and a lidded glass jar or two

Are also helpful

You never know what’s going to try to escape

Tissues and chocolate

Are also standard supplies


The key ring is large

Jangling with skeleton keys

For both the outside locks

And the inner ones

For the trunk contains other locked boxes inside

Where my history lies neatly separated

There are times when the past

Does not want to stay

In just one box or the other

I cut these in pieces and divide them

I am good with sharp objects


These keys are always worn on my person

They are a heavy weight

That I have learned to ignore

To tune out

Much like the ferocious contents

Held within the trunk itself

I know that it is time to start the unpacking

That the past is already leaking out of keyholes

Out of cracks in the well-worn leather


But the past holds the potential

To ensnare me, leaving me trapped in place

Its long sharp, pointed metal teeth

Puncturing the flesh and bone of my body

Drawing blood, leaving bone shards

Piercing me with pain

Unable to move

Too isolated to call out for help

Which I probably wouldn’t do anyway

I do not want to have to gnaw through

My own flesh to break free of my past again

I bear enough of the past’s scars already



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