Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

A Shuffle in the Woods

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

A Shuffle in the Woods

Article excerpt

When we have shuffled off this mortali coyle.

Hamlet 3.1.67

Not so easy as you say. Choosing the time,

before it's too late, even if you're no coward.

Compos mentis essential. We have heard the chimes

at midnight, mother. The bell beating one.

Shuffle in the tower. Ghost at the doorstep

whispering. Come. Go. Which is it?

Go, go, go, my mother chanted in half-light,

my fingers pressing the dropper's bulb.

Morphine, you, you faulty elixir. Drowning

in her lungs, slowly, nauseous, too awake,

breathless except her exhalations: Go. Go. Go.

Her persistent insistence. I listened

late night into morning, I went shuffling

to the next room, fell into a darkness, woke

to her coughless coughing. …

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