By Marie Ellen Pacha

The old man in the pawnshop looked rumpled and worn,
His shirt was quite wrinkled, and his cuff a bit torn.

His face was lined with the tracks of the years,
and his eyes showed remnants of laughter and tears.

His voice was a whisper as he spoke to me,
“Look round my shop. Tell me what do you see?

These aren’t mere possessions that I’ve come to own,
these are somebody’s dreams that are just here on loan.”

Some of them never can be redeemed,
so they sit here forever, as dusty old dreams.

Some of the owners come back in time,
and I give their dreams back, for they never were mine.

Some of them pass on to somebody new,
one of them might go to someone like you.

My ledgers are messy, just here to remind,
the names of the owners that left dreams behind.

But as time passes I have been here too long,
I can’t throw away dreams, that would be all wrong.

If you wish to take over, I will give them to you.
You must keep the shop open, if it’s all that you do.”

I nodded, understanding, all that he meant.
He gave me the keys then, and then…
he just went…

Once back in the store, I searched through each nook,
matched every thing up to the names in the book.

Some names were crossed off, and some items were gone,
dreams were redeemed and no longer in pawn.

Others were covered with layers of dust,
now my place to guard them, for somebody must.

I went to the door and looked at the sign,
and I knew quite surely, what future was mine.

The sign on the Pawnshop, read Keeper of Dreams
and all of the items are not what they seem.

Some dreams are in future and some are in past,
some stay for awhile, and some last and last.

Thank you for your patronage and please do come back,
if you’re searching for something, we have what you lack.

***

The wrecking ball knocked the sign from the door,
Keeper of Dreams would hang there no more.

No withered old man would look over at you.
Dreams had moved on, there was naught I could do.

The windows were shattered, the building in ruin.
They told me a strip mall would replace it quite soon.

But what happens to dreams, when they don’t have a place?
What fills the emptiness? What fills the space?

That ring that she cherished, that somebody stole
was an heirloom and precious to somebody old.

Now there’s Gap, and Old Navy, and BabyPhat too,
and people all wanting to buy something new.

That guitar in the corner brought tears to my eyes,
as I lived in a memory and felt time flash by.

The sign on the pawnshop had read Keeper of Dreams,
and all of the items were not what they seemed.

Some dreams move by quickly, and some last and last,
now the Keeper of Dreams is a thing of the past.

Thank you for your patronage, but you can’t come back…
And a world without dreams is a world cold and black.