Tales at the Edge of a Whiskey Glass

by | May 9, 2018 | Poetry

I like the tales that often start
at the edge of a whiskey glass
where the eyes stare at some lost thing
that seems to dance two miles away,
and something in the voice
cautions you to listen, as though
you are handed a treasure map
for gold in a cave by the bay.

It’s a jagged-worded story
pulled up from that deep well
where a young lover’s sled once slid
through unmarked snow on a white hill,
and playful children were called home
by the ring of a large brass bell.

I like the we way that such stories
pause with a soft-spoken, “you know?”
and the open eyes glance sideways
to check your short nod that “it’s true”
and new bonds are forged in each sound
that peels back layers of a wall
between the smooth whiskey and you.

I like the way the eyes look down
then quickly away, then roll up
with some kind of awestruck wonder
at fate and time and childish play.
And that moment when evening’s edge
draws near, to hide a tear-splashed cheek,
when crooked smiles bury the tale
and old friends turn and walk away.


Photo used under CC.

About The Author

William Harshbarger

William “Bill” Harshbarger was born in 1942. He taught History at Mattoon High School in Mattoon, Illinois for 35 years. He also owned and operated a bed and breakfast in Arcola, Illinois, with his wife Lynn, who is also an artist. He currently lives in Arcola, illinois and is now retired. He enjoys reading and writing, and is an education activist. He hopes to be remembered as a teacher who won no awards, did little harm, and who managed to provide for his four children with a modest amount of income. The members of his Bob’s Books Tuesday night poetry group would like to add that he is also a charming and interesting man, a fine poet, and a treasured friend.