If you are contemplating self-destruction, please tell someone you trust. Immediate counseling is available 24-7 by dialing 1-800-SUICIDE or 988.
A Sunday afternoon in early spring. We’d spent the morning quiet, in separate rooms—me in my office, writing; Molly on the bed in the guest room, working too, so I believed. I’d pass by and see her using her laptop or reading from the books piled on the bed where she lay prone, or sometimes staring off out through the window to the yard. It was warm for March already, full of the kind of color through which you can begin to see the blooming world emerge. Molly didn’t want to talk really, clearly feeling extremely down again, and still I tried to hug her, leaning over the bed to wrap my arms around her shoulders as best I could. She brushed me off a bit, letting me hold her but not really responding. I let her be—it’d been a long winter, coming off what felt like the hardest year in both our lives, to the point we’d both begun to wonder if, not when, the struggle would ever slow. I wished there could be something I might say to lift her spirits for a minute, but I also knew how much she loathed most any stroke of optimism or blind hope, each more offensive than the woe alone. Later, though, while passing in the hallway in the dark, she slipped her arms around me at the waist and drew me close. She told me that she loved me, almost a whisper, tender, small in my arms. I told her I loved her too, and we held each other standing still, a clutch of limbs. I put my head in her hair and looked beyond on through the bathroom where half-muted light pressed at the window as through a tarp. When we let go, she slipped out neatly, no further words, and back to bed. The house was still, very little sound besides our motion. After another while spent working, I came back and asked if she’d come out with me to the yard to see the chickens, one of our favorite ways to pass the time. Outside, it was sodden, lots of rain lately, and the birds were restless, eager to rush out of their run and hunt for bugs. Molly said no, she didn’t want to go, asked if I’d bring one to the bedroom window so she could see—something I often did so many days, an easy way to make her smile. I scooped up Woosh, our Polish hen, my favorite, and brought her over to the glass where Molly sat. This time, though, when I approached the window, Molly didn’t move toward us, open the window, as she would usually. Even as I smiled and waved, holding Woosh up close against the glass, speaking for her in the hen-voice that I’d made up, Molly’s mouth held clamped, her eyes like dents obscured against the glare across the dimness of the room. Woosh began to wriggle, wanting down. The other birds were ranging freely, unattended—which always made me nervous now, as in recent months a hawk had taken favor to our area, often reappearing in lurking circles overhead, waiting for the right time to swoop down and make a meal out of our pets. So I didn’t linger for too long at the window, antsy anyway to get on and go for my daily run around the neighborhood, one of the few reasons I still had for getting out of the house. I gripped Woosh by her leg and made it wave, a little goodbye, then hurried on, leaving Molly staring blankly at the space where I’d just been: a view of a fence obscured only by the lone sapling she’d planted last spring in yearning for the day she wouldn’t have to see the neighbors.
I corralled the chickens to their coop, came back inside. In Molly’s office, where I had a closet, I sat across from her while changing clothes in preparation for my daily run. Molly spoke calmly, said she’d just finished reading the galley of my next novel and that she liked the way it ended: with the book’s protagonist suspended in a stasis of her memories, forever stuck. I felt surprised to hear she’d finished, given her low spirit and how she’d said she found the novel difficult to read, because it hurt for her to have to see the pain behind my language, how much I’d been carrying around all this time. I told her I was grateful she’d made it through, that I wanted to hear more of what she thought after my run, already anxious to get on with it, in go-mode. My reaction seemed to vex her, causing a little back and forth where we both kept misunderstanding what the other had just said, each at different ends of a conversation. She remained flat on the bed as I kissed her forehead, squeezed her hand, then proceeded through the house, out the front door. Coming down the driveway, I took my phone out to put on music I could run to and saw I’d received an email, sent from Molly, according to the timestamp, just after I had left her in the room. (no subject), read the subject, and in the body, just: I love you, nothing else, besides a Word document she’d attached, titled Folk Physics, which I knew to be the title of the manuscript of poems she’d been working on the last few months. I stopped short in my tracks, surprised to see she’d sent it to me just like that, then and there. Something felt off, too out of nowhere—not like Molly, or perhaps too much like Molly. I turned around at once and went inside.
During my brief absence, she’d already risen from the bed, up and about for one of only a few times that day. I found her in the kitchen with the lights off, standing as if dazed by my appearance, arms at her sides. She seemed to clench up as I came near, letting me put my arms around her but staying taut, hand on my chest. She hesitated when I asked if she’d finished her manuscript, wondering why she hadn’t mentioned it. Yes, she said quietly, she guessed it was finished, a draft at least but no big deal. I told her I was excited to get to read it either way, that I was proud of her, and squeezed her tightly one more time, then let her go. She seemed to hover there in front of me a moment, waiting mute for what I’d do next. I asked if after my run we could go to Whole Foods, pick up something to make for dinner together, and maybe watch a movie, have a nice night here at home. She said yes, that sounded good, and I said good, I’d see her soon, then one last hug before I left her standing in the kitchen in the dark.
On my run, I followed my usual route around our neighborhood without much thought. I’d always liked the way the world went narrow in this manner during exercise, as if there could be nothing else to do but the task at hand, one foot in front of the other, counting down without a number. I don’t remember seeing any other people, then or later, though I must have; in retrospect, the smaller details would fade to gray around the corridor of time sent rushing forward in the wake of what awaited just ahead. Near the end of the run, I decided to extend my route, turning around to double back the way I’d just come, adding on an extra half-mile on a path that took me past the entrance to the gardens where Molly and I would often walk in summers. The sidewalks in this part of the neighborhood were cracked and bumpy, requiring specific care not to trip. I pulled my phone out to see how far I’d gone and saw a ping from Twitter telling me that Molly had made a post, just minutes past—a link to a YouTube video of “The Old Revolution” by Leonard Cohen, including her transcription of the song’s opening line: “I finally broke into the prison.” I liked the tweet and thumbed the link immediately, opening the song to let it play, happy to imagine her selecting the closing soundtrack for my run home, just a couple blocks away now. “Into this furnace I ask you now to venture,” Cohen sang, backed by a doomy twang. “You whom I cannot betray.”
The song was still there with me in my head as I arrived back at our driveway, where looking up from halfway along the path toward the stairs to our front porch, I saw a shape against the door, covering the spy hole—a plain white envelope, affixed with tape. My body seized. From early on in our relationship I’d had visions of Molly picking up and leaving just like that, deciding on a whim and without warning that she preferred to be alone. Running up the steps, already flush with adrenaline, a pounding pulse, I saw my first name, Blake, handwritten in the center of the envelope’s face in Molly’s script. Immediately, I wailed, devoid of language, too much too fast, real and unreal. Inside the envelope, a two-page letter, printed out. I stopped cold on the first lines:
I have decided to leave this world.
I have decided to leave this world.
Then there was nothing but those words—words to which I have no corollary, no distinct definition in that moment, as simple as they seem. Every sentence that I’ve tried to put here to frame the moment feels like a doormat laid on blood, an unstoppable force colliding with an intolerable object in slow motion, beyond the need of being named. Before and after.
Out of something akin to instinct, I forced my sight along the rest of the letter, not really reading it so much as scanning for a more direct form of information, anything she’d written that might tell me where she was—which, near the end of the second page, I found: I left my body in the nature area where we used to go walking so I could see the sky and trees and hear the birds one last time. Then: I shot myself so it would be over instantly with certainty and no suffering whatsoever. This time when I screamed it was the only word that I could think of: No. I must have sounded like a child jabbed in his guts, squealing. I knew exactly where she meant—I’d run right by it, just minutes before, perhaps a couple hundred yards away. I might have even crossed her path while on the way there had times aligned right, had I known. A sudden frenzy of possible options of what to do next swarmed my brain, none of them quite right, devised in terror.
At the edge of the sidewalk, I stopped and tried to think if I should go inside and get my keys and drive to where she might be, or if I should run there fast as I could, still in my running clothes, already half-exhausted and slick with sweat. Each instant that I didn’t do exactly the right thing felt like the last chance, a window closing. Finally, I took off running at full speed along the sidewalk, shouting her name loud as I could, begging her or me or God or whoever else might be able to hear me: No, please, Molly. Not like this. No matter what I said, there was no answer; no one on the street around me, zero cars. Ahead, the sidewalk seemed to stretch so far beyond me, no matter how fast or hard I ran, as if growing longer with every step; all the houses shaped the same as they were always, full of other people in the midst of their own lives. As I ran, I tried to scan her letter, held out before me with both hands, already wadded up in frantic grip, scanning through fragments of despondent logic that felt impossible to connect with any actual moment in the present as it passed. “Everyone’s life ends, and mine is over now,” she’d written in present tense about the future, which was apparently in the midst of happening right now—or had it already happened? Was there still time? I felt embarrassed, sick to my stomach, to feel my body’s power giving out no matter how hard I tried to maintain the sprint, forced instead at several points to slow down against the burning in my muscles, sucking for air with everything I thought I knew now on the line.
I couldn’t find her in the fields. The grass was high and muddy, and my running shoes kept getting stuck, sucking half off me, as I worked my way along the path between the unkempt plots of wild grass left overgrown through the winter and the vacant patches where in the spring ahead flowers would bloom. Everything felt blurred, moving much faster all around me than I could parse. I was still screaming her name, begging her to answer, to be okay, but my voice just disappeared into the strangling silence. I searched the spots where last summer we’d returned daily to watch a mother duck care for her newborn flock; the bank of reeds where hundreds of frogs would often sing till you got too near; the grown-together pair of trees Molly said she thought would resemble us in our old age someday. I kept calling her number, listening to it ring and ring until the default voicemail recording came back on, asking in an android woman’s voice for me to leave a message. Maybe in the memory on Molly’s phone now there’s a recording of me huffing and howling, just before I really understood that there was no way to go back, that nothing I could say or want or do could reverse what had taken place.
The longer she failed to turn up, the more I felt a desperate possibility that it wasn’t already too late—that she was out here somewhere, and I could save her, and yet no matter where I turned or how I shouted, nothing changed. I realized I should call 911, holding the phone up to my face while rushing through the mud into the far end of the gardens, clogged with the trees. After what seemed endless ringing, an operator’s voice came on the line, firm and professional, and asked for my emergency. I heard the words come out of my mouth before I thought them: My wife left me a suicide note and I can’t find her. The operator asked me where I was, how they could reach me, and I kept trying to explain, uncertain how to be specific with the location of the gardens, of no immediate address. I can’t find her, I need help, I kept repeating in frustration when I couldn’t seem to get it right, please come and help me. The operator reassured me the police were already on their way, someone would be there very soon. In the meantime, she stayed with me on the line as I hurried through the trees to where the gardens reached their end amid a sort of bog, studded with thickets and obscured patches, brambles, shrubs, so many possible places to end up. Every time I called her name, it felt a little less like her; as if what those syllables had meant to me for so long no longer bore resemblance to itself, and in its place, a widening hole, larger than all else.
Reaching the end of the bog area, I turned around and started back toward the street. Close to the entrance, along a patch of land where some local group had planted food, I saw two women coming down the slope toward me, one near my age, the other probably her mother. I could see at once they looked concerned, had come down to the area for a reason. “Did you hear a gunshot?” I begged of them in a pinched voice, desperate to hear a different answer than what I thought. Yes, they said, they had—and I felt something deep within me break—ambient anguish so overwhelming I should have fallen to my knees but could no longer remember how. Like having the skin ripped off your head and being asked to run a marathon on live TV where the finish line ends in a lake of burning bile. It’s not that time stands still in such a moment—it’s that there’s nothing you can do to make it stop, and every second lasts forever even as it’s over, as if what you’d once thought must be impossible has become the organizing principle of who you are. With someone else speaking for me now, I asked how long ago they’d heard the gunshot. They said ten minutes. I asked in which direction, and they pointed back the way I’d come. “Are you missing your dog?” the younger woman asked, as I turned to hurry where she’d pointed. “My wife,” I said, over my shoulder, and heard her groan, say, Oh my God.
I was completely frantic now, even more incensed with the task of finding as the world surrounding bent to blur; all possible locations interlacing in my periphery like abstract glyphs, beneath one of which, somewhere, was Molly’s body. Between my clearer memories of this transition in time’s fabric, huge, wide blank patches, a jagged space in how I’d been that simply no longer exists. I remember moving away from where those women were as through a vortex, past cracks widening within my vision, the sound of my inhale like a black hole. As I hurried back along the gardens’ path again, expecting at any second to come stumbling onto blood, I noticed another form there with me parallel, a man hurrying along the massive drainage pipe that laced the property, trying to help. Back near the far end of the trees, he shouted at me for her phone number so he could call, too, as if she’d answer him instead of me. The only numbers I knew by heart were mine and my mother’s, I realized, stopping to stand there scrolling through my contacts till I found hers, then shouting it across the thickets for anyone to have. Right then, standing in the middle of a forest with my phone out, I felt as far as I have ever felt from salvation; like all the minutiae life is made of was nothing more than illness and detritus, empty gestures, worthless hope. What if I never found her, I imagined, already able to imagine countless variations of the desolation just ahead; what would life be, in this hole, where space-time seemed stretched far beyond the point of breaking, no longer even scrolling forward, but just flapping, tearing skin off, empty space? I could already imagine it just like that—the nature of reality, comprised in violence made so innate you don’t even need to find your loved one’s body to realize, with every passing moment, that you can’t go back, and that what’s ahead is little more than an endless and excruciating blur. I could barely think to lift my feet, but I was moving, through somewhere so far beyond adrenaline it felt like the world had finally actually gone flat, my blood replaced with poison, choking on it, being dragged. Somewhere above me, though, if something was watching, it would have appeared like I was strolling by now, taking care to admire the minor aspects of the terrain, laying my wide eyes on anywhere the weeds and branches might obscure the truth from being found, a secret place that so far only Molly knew the shape of.
Then I saw. There in the wild grass, just off the path obscured by saplings. Her body on her back facing the sky. Eyes closed. Completely motionless. A handgun clenched between her hands against her chest. Hair pulled up in a bun. Her favorite green coat. Her face blank of expression, already paling. A tiny, darkened wound punched in her chin, near to her throat. A single fly already circling the hole, lurking to feed. I knew at once that she was gone. Something else about me in my brain replaced the rest then, taking me over in that instant, clobbered blank. As if the atmosphere had been ripped off and all the air sucked out around us. Like the world was just a set that’d been abandoned long ago, and I was the only one still down here wandering around. I heard me tell the operator that I’d found her, that she wasn’t breathing. My voice was steady, somehow, already cleaving onto facts. I heard me say that I was not allowed to touch her, right, because this was a crime scene. Because she was without a question dead. My wife was dead. Molly was dead. The operator told me yes. She told me they were having trouble placing my location, but someone would be there soon, so just hang on. I took a step back from Molly’s body, standing over it for just a moment before putting my hands over my face, turning away. I didn’t need to look any longer to see the way it was, now and forever—her image scraped into my brain, drained of all light. I tried to take a knee and instead fell on all fours, no longer screaming but just wailing, for her, for Mom, for God, but choking on it, out of breath, as meanwhile the white-hot silent sun above us burned, an open all-unseeing eye.
I have no idea how long I lay alone there in the dirt—forever, it would have felt like, but also as if no time at all, as time meant nothing now that there was nothing left to fear. Nothing left, either, to hide me from the blank above, all one long clear pale blue, the surrounding land flat and sandwiched in around me, as in a hole cut through a map. This can’t be real, I kept insisting aloud to no one, simultaneously devastated and enraged, moaning for help and for erasure, anything that could intercede. I felt a sudden buzzing near my right eye, then, the hum of wings and then a landing, and a pinch. I slapped back at the place where I’d been stung, on my right eyelid, inadvertently hitting my own face in place of the bee, already moving on now, having delivered its weird joke. I’d never been stung before but as a child, too young to recall but by my mother’s story of the memory—how I’d stepped on a dead yellow jacket and lost my mind, more scared than hurt. I think I howled then, almost like laughing, pawing at the expectation of a swelling while looking back at Molly’s corpse, as if this was some strange punchline we might share—something just stung me, what the fuck—not yet having felt it sunken in yet that she could no longer respond. “A bee sticks the young king’s hand for the first time,” I’d realize later she’d once written in a poem, as if already having known. “Alone on a slope where apples are rotting / under boughs in a sweet acid smell // and he’d like insects to cover him / for the effect it had on the other children. In rain / minnows feel the pond grow.”
When the cops arrived, they found me on my stomach, talking to myself. There were two of them, a medic and an officer, and at first they maintained a distance, testing me out, as if I were a criminal or wild animal. Without needing to be asked, I aimed my arm at where Molly’s body was and the officer went to it, the other staying with me, not kneeling down but standing over, asking questions I can’t remember to repeat. Something else was speaking for me now, a part of me that didn’t need the real me to keep going; as if I wasn’t really there, but in a maw. I heard myself call out after the officer to verify what I felt certain I had seen: That she was dead, right? Were they sure? Calmly, clearly, he said yes, simple as that, a legal fact. Was she pregnant? the medic asked, nodding just so when I said no. I could tell they could tell I wasn’t in my right mind when I asked if they could tell where she got the gun from, and if so, would they please be sure to let me know, please? As if there were anything that I could do about it now, or as if at any second someone might come up and tap me on the shoulder, apologize for the confusion, and lead me back to my real life. Instead, by now, other police had begun arriving, masses of them, so it seemed, coming as if out of nowhere to take part in the production, right on cue. Someone put up the yellow CRIME SCENE tape around her body. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to turn my head, to have to remember her there with all the cops huddled above her with their tools. Everybody else around me was all business, working around my open moaning, bawling, barking, with eyes averted, as if at once trying to give me space and do their job. I felt so helpless there in my detainment, never officially told to stay in one place but also knowing that I must, sitting on my ass in the dirt weeping through hubbub, no certain guide but by the law. These people are just at work, I remember thinking, They must feel so thankful they’re not me. What else was there to say? I knew they knew, as best they could, how no consolation could change the fact, and that therefore there was no reason to try to touch me, offer warmth. We were just here to take part today in what the day had produced all on its own—a kind of programmatic existential framework I imagined Molly finding sick satisfaction in, another brutal lesson from the void.
I wasn’t sure who I could call—for years, my go-to would have been Molly or Mom. The absence of both options doubly underlined the absence of any place to call my own, right then and there. It felt insane, pathetic even, to call our therapist, and so that’s exactly what I did, unable to imagine any other person who’d be the one to force out of my mouth for the first time the awful truth. Against my ear, my phone felt like a wormhole, sucking my air out as it attached me to the world beyond my reach. Maybe if nobody heard the news, it would undo itself, go back to how it’d been just hours earlier. But our therapist picked up—only my therapist now, no longer ours, I understood, trapped in the midst of the ways words sometimes alter their intentions, right in stride with all the other shifting details of your life—and I heard the words I didn’t want to have to say come flooding out: Hello, it’s me, Blake; I’m very sorry, but I didn’t know who else to call; Molly shot herself today; Molly is dead. I don’t remember what she said, quite; only the texture of the saying, the sound of the voice there on the line held far away, someone who knew us both and understood the impact of those words more than the other people all around me. I could see my body moving and hear the sounds that left my mouth, left with nothing else to do but play the role of my new self. I should call my sister, we concluded, after talking it through, like jumping forward through the hoops of future time arriving, point by point, like any day, though once I’d done that, sharing the news with someone hundreds of miles away, I feared it would become realer somehow, a final terrible seal forced popped. People would know soon, then it’d become gossip, old news, word of mouth. There’d no longer remain any way, then, that I could hold off reality from taking course, filling in around me where I was not.
I wasn’t allowed to leave the scene. Instead, I was asked to tell and retell my story of what happened over and over, first to one detective, then another, then another, like hellish Matryoshka dolls with badges and guns. I could feel their eyes searching my eyes, reading me as I told the story as best I could. They asked if I’d had any sense that this could happen, which made me feel embarrassed to say yes, trying to explain in so many feeble words Molly’s persona, her personal history, her cryptic poetry. “I like poetry too,” one detective interrupted with a grin, somewhere between considerate and dense, like we weren’t really talking about what we were talking about. I had to hand over Molly’s letter, which I’d been clutching this whole time, messy with mud and crumpled up, now considered evidence. This letter was my last link to her mind, I felt, therefore to any frame that might be found to explicate her reasoning, and now I had to hand it over, following procedure like some suspect on TV. I begged them to be sure to return to me, to not let it end up missing, aware at the same time in my periphery of the handling of the body of my wife, the hunt for facts, none of which could ever change what had just happened, much less whatever might come next.
I was busy reiterating my story for another detective when across the mud I noticed Matt, one of my oldest friends, running toward me. The look on his face, the sound of his voice, the way he hugged me to him: now there was no mistaking what had occurred, no way to keep it separate from the whole rest of my life. I felt my limbs go limp to be embraced, as all of what had kept me upright no longer needed to hold on. At the same time, still in shock, I felt my body holding back there on the cusp, not letting me implode yet, as somehow the world continued on. I could touch my face and feel it there, part of my body, but who was I, and why, and how? Had what just happened actually happened, or was I living in a hell world, an exact model of how it’d once been with just this one major detail brought to change? Like any second everybody would start laughing, including Molly, who’d get up and come to take me in her arms, without a need for explanation besides to say that she wasn’t really gone. Then they’d roll the sky back, too, and show me everything else I hadn’t known yet about my life, about existence. Instead, I listened in as Matt spoke up on my behalf, asserting that I should be allowed to leave as soon as possible and go home. Hearing him say home, however, reminded me that the word already clearly no longer meant the same as it last had, and in a way, that felt more frightening than standing out here in broad daylight at a crime scene, where at least there was a formal process underway. What choice did I have, though, but to keep going, unless I was ready, willing, and able to die too? Yes, that made sense. Molly was my wife, my love—shouldn’t I go with her, having failed her? Why should I be allowed to survive beyond this day? Already, in thinking back, I felt an undeniable desire that instead of doing the right thing calling the cops, I’d instead taken the gun from Molly’s hands, laid down beside her, and, as if somehow in her honor, doubled down. At my most dire, any other option outside of that, now and for some time, would bear the tint of a pitiful formality, tempered only by conditioning, as if all we really are is just the shadow of what we’re not.
I didn’t want to get mud all over the inside of Matt’s car. I remained formal and polite even in zombie-mode, relieved at least to have something else to do. Back at our address, I trudged up the same set of concrete steps where I’d only just been standing when I discovered her suicide note taped to the door, a hanging haze there like the fumes after explosion. The front face of our house looked like a facsimile, designed to trick me into believing I existed—a secret feeling shared between me and it alone, as to most anybody else, outside my mind, it was just another piece of property. I imagine that’s how haunting works—only those who know can parse the signal linking the residue of history to how we are, what we’re becoming amid our slow transition, step by step. I sat on the stoop with my head in my hands, trying to remember how to think, or not to think. I was focused, mostly, on her letter, getting it back, so I could read it in full, over and over; as if, like Molly, only work could save me now. Matt volunteered to go back down and ask for information, if I’d be okay on my own, and I told him that was fine, that it might be good for me to have some time alone now, so I could feel the way I felt beyond the reach of other eyes. I was well-accustomed to this aloneness, this want for independence, having already accepted as natural law that no one could ever reach me but myself, the bells and whistles of attention that made most others seem to feel better were for me more a nuisance than a balm. As he drove off, I went inside and closed myself inside the bathroom, walking right past my reflection without looking, not wanting yet to have to see, and past the mostly pastel-colored painting Molly had made in college and hung here, as if for forever, having planned this ending to our story all this time. I stripped my muddy running clothes off and turned the shower on hot and lay face down on the tile beneath the spray. I can’t remember what words I made, only the texture of my voice, mumbling in monotone under my breath as if to anyone who still might hear me from Beyond, the same way that I had once, as a child, tried to comfort myself mimicking Mom’s lullabies.
When Matt got back, he handed me a brown paper bag containing Molly’s letter and her phone, along with the business card of the investigator for the medical examiner’s center and a second note by Molly found on her body, scrawled on the back side of a small envelope:
I am an organ donor.
My husband Blake Butler
(my phone number)
I took Molly’s letter into my office, closed the glass doors. I knelt on the floor and read it from beginning to end once and then immediately again, trying to find some kernel of her voice there, something alive. These were Molly’s final words, I realized, believing in them as some form of access to her brain—despite how out of sync they seemed, like a lost child trying to figure out how to explain her situation to herself while standing front and center in harm’s way. Here was what she had left for me to hear. A widening terror within me renewed itself with every breathless word and hard return, underlined by an undeniable form of failure, hers and mine. If only I had one more chance to hold her, I imagined, to tell her everything she meant to me no matter what. If only I could tear this paper up, as if it alone had been the cause and not the receipt. Any chance to contradict her logic, though, to reach beyond it, had been not only lopped off at the hilt, but imminently infected by the violent silence of the world—including the matted, jagged sunlight pouring in now through the windows, getting all over everything we’d ever had, nowhere to turn but toward the absence.
From Molly, to be published by Archway Editions in November 2023.
Blake Butler is the author of nine book-length works, including Alice Knott, 300,000,000, Sky Saw, There is No Year, and Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia. In 2021, he was long-listed for the Joyce Carol Oates Prize. He is a founding editor of HTMLGIANT.
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