Jenn Ruleman Holl
I never found
My true and ancient secrets
In books, lightly powdered with dust
Or in the papers, sorted in boxes, that they had packed away for me.
All they held were numbers and lines
And the names of fathers.
But I found them
Tucked in a drawer that still smelled like cedar chips
Between a flimsy lace-hemmed slip whose elastic had erupted into a
dozen loose filaments
And an embroidered handkerchief, yellowed at the corners.
They were in a felt-covered box
Held tight by rubber bands.
The brass clasp was broken.
And this is what they were:
Two rhinestone encrusted costume baubles,
checkered with empty black spaces and tiny bits of glue.
A brooch in the shape of a cluster of berries,
with perfectly round garnets between the silver leaves.
And a tortoise-shell comb, still sticky in its fingers.