Blake Butler

Replication Error

( ) I felt like sawing through the sofa to find the place where you said you'd always be. Nests of hair and perspiration. The soaked up sound of old TV. There are rooms that live only in sitcoms, plots of air we'll never breach. I don't mind wearing a small mind. The backyard full of worm dirt. Some light suspended in my knees. The depression of a camera. The stress sung in the soup. Complex itching. Nun of mutton. Snake skin grafted on a man. Behind my family's photo on the mantle, I one time found a spot a mold in the exact shape and location of my head. A new bubble in the headboard. The impregnation of clean glass.

( ) I felt like swimming in old water in search of someone I'd once been. Lick of yearning. Ceiling orphaned. Where if I'd sit for long enough a lock would open on my head. I don't have any specific problem I just want the walls to know my name. The pavement over someone's mother. The chocolate in her brain. The chew and cheek of skewed tradition: concrete eggs and neon bacon. The sing stressed in the ice cube. Numb decision. Slab of beef. Within the eye of the cashier balding and endless at our grocer, I saw saliva I'd once worn. A black dot on the forehead. The thumbprint in the cake.

( ) I felt like nothing with a year left, gnawing days that I'd let go. Ring of summer. Popped condition. The spores shorn in our knees. I could have stayed the same age forever if I'd kept my fingers in my ears. Burrowed hallway. Basement sleeper. What kind of tree might grow from screeching. The hair that felled the elevator. The billionth egg that burst. I can sometimes hear that song invading. Copper vision. Hum of tree. Clothes to be worn and buried on that gold day. So many evenings as a blonde child my knees cricked while crawling to sleep beneath my parents' bed. A condition in the heartbeat. Some gone wonder overhead.

Blake Butler owns no lampshade. He has been published or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Fence, Lake Effect, Black Warrior Review, etc. He lives in Atlanta and blogs at

"They said there'd been a well once under my father's father's porch, though it'd been filled in, covered over. Someone had fallen in at some point and drowned. After that there was no water. Sometimes standing out there with my Thanksgiving plate I could hear teeth and tongues and blubber in my shoe soles. I always seemed to get a nosebleed. Sometimes I swear the porch wood bowed."


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