Written by Jack Pettinato and HastyWords
After my grandmother died
I was sorting through her things
(what to keep, what to give away?)
and in a dust-covered trunk in the attic
I found a letter she’d written but didn’t send.
The envelope was stained
by years of dusty packed-away sins
(should I unseal it, should I peek?)
sealed-up and kept secret for years.
I sat looking at the name on the address line
then opened the letter,
hoping what I saw
would eventually make sense,
reading and reading and finally
seeing in the ink blurred by
tears not my own
deceit of which my grandfather never knew.
Forbidden love trapped
in these words that once had life,
a passionate despair held silent,
a journey of pain right before my eyes,
I held in my hand an alternate reality,
the story of a life buried here inside a trunk.
Hands trembling I hid the letter
deep within the trunk to
preserve the secret once again,
then decided my own letters
would never reveal
what my husband might only imagine.