Witness on pg. 56

Blake Butler

In the room I watched them muddle, their limbs and lungs a splintered sprawl, the moisture beading on the flood doors where in their sleep the room would fill with mush: another rash condition of containment enforced and overseen in lifelong plan. I could not bring myself sometimes to see the seam set in the child's forehead open up—she was a child still, as was the man—the slimming cleavers of bright wire and or lathered apparatus arranged therein behind—though this child was not inhumanthere were wires the same as you or I might ever hide—I could not bring myself to there address the way the man's hands in her holding would not loosen their grip even unconscious, even as our sensors—guided beyond me—siphoned and addressed the child's uploading and downloading sets of needs and things incurred, the graphs of data and diorama from wherein the child's sense of senses could replicate the condition of the house from its inside—of the man from his inside also—any, every—none. The way often where together on the sac of mattress where their exposed limbs hit the skin would flush together fully, making wet, so engorged among their dreaming that I could not slick my nail between, that I could not pry a space to fit my finger. The female's fingertips wore mold. I would clean them with my own fingers, sometimes tasting. I smelled their night. Against her head I'd touch my head the way I'd seen he had, breathing—what in me of they could I install. What lit–right rooms of years remembered in rooms here hidden, half–dissolved—if even just in manner of a replication—as I knew on paper this here was. I could not keep my fingers from vibrating. I hid the smearing in my own folds. I kept my head out of the light. And yet more and more, as further hours passed, passing in slashed passages in the reverse manner the child had seemed to spool through—like fucking years and years each instant, halves in halving—I began to find that each any glisten I could hull whole out of the moment in there could not be stretched out inside me long enough. Whatever was white about the pausing, the enfoldment, would only get me slowly further through the hours, less each day, until in sheathing, by the Nth one, I'd hardly half halved the room in exit of transmission to let the encampment carry on before I could feel fluttered in my veins the need in leaving, the rashed rash in slather up my bloodholes. If I did not record this moment in the ledgers as it is, I hoped in my resignation I could stand, I could quick forget what I'd forgot I had forgotten and still therein soon continue on in our projection: in the mettle of the food rooms, the light, the hive mind, each syllable of every inch our new walls soon, so preproclaimed, the way we'd made them to contain. Still though, in each, as the walls uncovered, and in the blink the blink blew on, there on my skin, each time: I sipped the slow. I lipped the width of walls between us there engorged. I pressed the button in the growing. PLEASE DISREGARD THE EVERY INCH OF WHAT I'VE HEREIN, I SWEAR, EXORCISED, INTONED.

Blake Butler is the author of Ever (Calamari Press 09) and Scorch Atlas (forthcoming Featherproof 09/09). 'Witness on pg. 56' is cribbed from a nearly completed long novel titled DECADE, a text disease in 11 years. Blake blogs at blakebutler.blogspot.com.