Honorable Mention – 2022 Beverly Hopkins Contest for High School Students

What the Bartender Said

St. Louis Priory School

        inspired by Raymond Carver

I meandered into the small bar on the corner
Nothing out of the ordinary except me
The old oak tables
The shiny crystal glasses
The fat man in the apron
He said what’s your fancy son
I said whatever is cold
He said he liked the Mets over the Yankee
He asked why so glum pal
He said am I supposed to laugh with you or cry with you
I tried to walk away
But I was drawn back by the man
Polishing his glimmering glass
He asked if I had a family
I said I did
He said that I would always have a place here
This bar
This place with the dimly lit light
And the smell of garbage cans wafting in from the street
And the jazz music that played
All night long