There is a trunk upstairs
the old fashioned type 
with rounded brass corners
and black metal sides

i bought it when I was 14
my version of a hope chest
to fill with items I might
find necessary when i
was on my own 

the first thing I put in the trunk
was a 1/4” electric drill
bought at the hardware store
where I worked after school and saturdays

i got a spoke shave and draw knife 
from a black man at his yard sale
on my way home from the pool
on the hill

i put the trunk at the
foot of my bed
filling it with my dreams 
of a self sufficient future

i bought some rust oleum 
painted the flat metal sides
black and the trim gold

i left the back of the trunk unpainted
i thought it unnecessary 
it will never be seen

my pirates chest
held against its will
at the foot of my bed

it flew to the Virgin Islands with me
carrying china, flatware, cooking pots
(and my 1/4” drill)
I pushed it against a wall
and used it for a table 

half a century later
the trunk holds
embroidered cotton saris from India,
hand dyed wool baby sweaters
knitted by artistic aunties,
battenberg lace to restore
wedding gowns,
pearl buttons made from shells
from the Ohio river

pulling the trunk aside
to sweep spider webs
from behind,
the back unpainted
reminds me:
don’t look back
oil the hinges
dont lose the key