With Shakespeare in the Admissions Room at Yale

By Marc Harshman

The bulldog squats on the mantel, smug in his silence.  Inside the mirror a man is noosing his blue tie through the collar of a yellow shirt.  The dental work crowning the wainscoting empowers the room to speak for everyone.  The snake embroidered in the blouse, the sparrow in the glass, the spider hanging from the lamp, all of them know.  Deftly he removes three buttons from the wine glass and stitches them into his jacket.  Someone should notice.  A single lavender crocus stands up from the middle of the carpet.  Applause.  Each bows to each.  What will it get him, his father inquires?  Botany and a job in a florist shop?  The dog barks.  The owner of the seasons opens the door at last; a wind plasters snow-bursts of forgotten saints upon the wall.  The crocus shrivels.  A set change is signaled.  Two boys haul at the velvet curtain, crimson and silver.  Someone plants a cross in memory of what they once knew.  The dog slips on his beaver coat and waits in the wings.  He has a following.  Already they are crowding everyone else’s lines in the playbook…. Hamlet is not the only monologue.  And the blind man — what does he know?  How did it feel to have his ears licked by a snake? We’re only strutting here a fretful hour to be heard no more.  Still, it’s good work if you can get it.  Waiting for casket numbers from college boards requires deft handling of arenas of conscience as yet unexcavated.  Inside her web you imagine there are wombs full of babies.  And when the buttons fly off his shirt and sparrows begin to shower the room with the songs of saints, remember he’s in the alleyway talking to some French girls and no more knows the next line in this little theatrical entertainment than you do.

This entry was posted in Fiction and tagged . Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

About Marc Harshman

Raised in rural Indiana, Marc Harshman has lived his adult life in West Virginia where, for many years, he taught in a three-room country school. Periodical publications of work include The Georgia Review, Tuesday, The Bitter Oleander, Shenandoah, Atlanta Review, 5 AM, and The Progressive. He is the author of three chapbooks of poetry including most recently Local Journeys (Finishing Line). His poem, "In The Company of Heaven," recently won the Newport Review flash fiction contest. He is also the author of eleven children's picture books including The Storm, a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children. New children’s titles are forthcoming.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • In The Latest Issue

  • Browse by Genre

  • Archives

    open all | close all