The Chamber...Revisited...

Not too long ago, I found a key which had belonged to you;
A gift that I had given to a heart that once was true.
It unlocked a private chamber, furnished fittingly for two,
With space on which to build a dream...for that's what lovers do.
I returned there just the other day, because I felt I must.
The door was difficult to open, everything was veiled in dust.
All the candles were extinguished and their holders flaked with rust.
On the littered floor, the charred remains of faith, belief and trust.

It was chilly and I shivered as I peered into the gloom.
Fat spiders spun their webs in every corner of the room.
Unfinished needlepoint with tattered threads sagged from a splintered loom,
While the air was musty, stale and damp...a melancholy tomb.
At my feet, the withered remnants of a long-stemmed crimson rose
With brittle leaves, but still the thorns stabbed sharply at my toes.
There were chocolate boxes tied with wilted ribbons, shriveled bows;
The wreckage of what's left behind when love no longer grows.

There were flower arrangements that had long forgotten how to bloom
And some scraps of silver read "Forever" from a burst balloon.
I found crumpled tickets for a never-taken honeymoon
And a music-box whose haunting melody was out-of-tune.
Thrown indifferently upon the worn and shabby easy-chair,
With its twisted coils and fractured legs in dire need of repair,
Slumped a limp and colorless rag doll won at the local fair;
She had come apart at every seam...and didn't even care.

On the nightstand was a photograph which captured, quite by chance,
A cavalier who'd seldom tucked his shirt into his pants
But was nonetheless, as I recall, the essence of romance
And could steal my very breath away with one adoring glance.
He gazed at me from the dog-eared picture in the dented frame
But the eyes no longer sparkled and he didn't look the same.
He seemed weary and the smile upon his face was forced and lame;
Yet, I caught a distant echo of him...murmuring my name.

Shredded invitations to a wedding planned for early Spring
Were crammed into a drawer which held a tarnished diamond ring.
The stones had lost their luster, appeared flawed and trifling;
Just a trinket, just a bauble...just a dime-a-dozen thing.
Between a pair of crystal goblets, holding dregs of vintage wine,
A Scrabble board, now badly buckled with a broken spine,
Abandoned when the players found they had run out of time,
Spelled one single word..."Goodbye"...upon a solitary line.

In an alcove, a frail creature, very thin and underfed,
Was curled into a tiny ball, its small hands held its head;
I knew it had been wounded, I could see where it had bled,
And though I tried hard to revive it, it was cold and stiff and dead.
So, I looked around until I found a little wooden chest;
Inside were playbills, theater stubs and petals...crushed and meaningless.
On these now-forsaken souvenirs, I laid it down to rest,
And prayed its final hours had been free from all distress.

Had this really been the place where we had shared our hopes and dreams?
Where I'd listened patiently to all your wild and crazy schemes?
Where we'd stretched the wings of passion to the furthest of extremes?
Perhaps...but in some long-lost, bygone century, or so it seems.
Here, we drank a toast to love that would survive eternally;
And it was here, we realized some things were never meant to be.
Among the debris of what had become a jaded memory,
I turned from you the instant that you turned away from me.

A flickering lamp, beam weakly shining through a threadbare shade
With its creamy parchment cracking and its fringing torn and frayed,
Cast upon the wall vague silhouettes, which soon began to fade.
An illusion...or maybe a trick the dwindling light had played.
The shadows lengthened as they crept toward me, slow but sure,
Leaving rifts of empty promises upon the scuff-marked floor.
When I reached out blindly for the jagged handle of the door,
I briefly felt the pain that I once feared I'd not endure.

A stack of notes and poems, rolled up in a rubber band,
Crumbled dryly into powder as I brushed them with my hand
And, upon the mantlepiece, an hourglass devoid of sand
Told me that I'd lingered in this place far longer than I'd planned.
The yellowed windowpane was scratched...lace curtains dulled to gray;
Warped reflections of past images beckoned me to stay.
Then, a ghostly whisper asked, "Why did you come here anyway?"
I ran from that chamber, locked it tight, and threw the key away.

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