Raising a Glass

Ben raised his glass, tilting it momentarily
to greet the stranger entering the bar
sunlight streamed behind the stranger
blazing to obscure any focus
of the stranger  as he turned
toward the rear of the bar,
Ben warned him
do not go in there;
you see, we are not sure what’s beyond
the dark
we can feel it
we do not know what it might be
shall be
even worse, could be
there have been several
who dared the dark
did not return
sit down here at the bar with me
have a whiskey
i prefer mine neat
come on, come on, sit here
Ben pleaded
the stranger, dressed in black
with a black stetson,
paused, turned briefly toward him
before abruptly turning back
toward the dark
the stranger passed from the sunlight
into the dark
Ben finished his whiskey
dropped a sawbuck on the bar
rising from his stool
he moved toward the door
the sunlight
laughing quietly.

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