My door, upon one Halloween,
Was forced ajar by hand unseen.
No doorbell rang, there were no knocks,
But on the step there lay a box.
The questions start: “From whence it came?
(The sender did not print their name.)
Is it for me? Who left it there?
What mystery does this vessel bear?”
I lift the box’s lid, and lo,
There is a beer I do not know.
Dressed in a can of dark design,
All black and red and artwork fine.
The label does not tell the style;
Its sly intentions must be vile.
Just six words leave me paranoid:
“There is no beer. Only Void.”
It fits one hand, but size deceives,
For lifting takes abnormal heaves.
Whatever’s in this dim crevasse
Is heavier than natural mass.
I crack the can and gasp in fright;
The room is robbed of all its light.
I pour into a glass and see
The horror that’s in store for me.
A sight of purest heresy:
The Void has no transparency!
Absorbing all life’s joy and hope
It spits out just the hangman’s rope.
The foam makes all my body quiver –
Inner lurch and outer shiver –
For that red’s unmistakeable,
A colour that’s unfakeable.
My missing friend of long ago,
The one who vanished down below…
Here, before my very eyes,
Is blood that proves my friend’s demise.
I pour the beer to ground; alas,
It makes its way back in the glass.
“There’s no way back; I can’t reverse;
I must consume to end this curse!"
I, trembling, raise it to my lips,
And take a few disgusted sips –
Intense, infused with all my fears
And soon, as well, with rolling tears.
The taste spreads far beyond the tongue,
As sharpness stabs into my lung.
In side of jaw and depth of heart,
A pain that rips my soul apart.
My mind cannot escape the thought
Of what my friend endured when caught:
Was his death quick? My hope, it fails;
I can’t believe such fairy tales.
I picture screaming, pleading, gore:
His skull crushed flat into the floor,
Like berries squeezed and squashed at length
Within a fist of beastly strength.
My last gulp laughs at my cruel thirst;
It cuts as deeply as the first.
Red wine, red jam, red ecstasy;
A sadism inside of me.
The final drops, a bloody rose,
Within the glass at torture’s close.
The pulp and puree of a friend
Who met with an an untimely end.
Whoever squeezed my friend’s life dry,
One Drop of solace they supply:
The one I thought was never found,
I’m now, with him, forever bound.
Published October 29, 2021 2021-10-29 00:00:00