Tin House Volume 20, Number 1: Poison
One night after I’d turned off my reading light but not yet sunk into sleep, an uneasy feeling swept up my back. I was accustomed to the sweep of shadows along the walls as the train emptied its passengers and they marched by my windows and cars braked at the corner stoplight, but one shadow had stopped, its source blocking the stripe of light at the corner of my closest window.
‘Hey, baby’ a voice murmured from outside. ‘Are you sleeping?
—MELISSA FEBOS, Intrusions“
Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.” So said Paracelsus, the sixteenth-century Swiss physician credited with creating laudanum. In our toxic times, it seems as if there are very few remedies and that all is, indeed, poisonous. What, then, must writers do? Come up with remedies? Use the poison to cleanse, to heal, or simply to attack what is attacking us?