Russell Edson


The Changeling


A man had a son who was an anvil. And then sometimes
he was an automobile tire.
I do wish you would sit still, said the father.
Sometimes his son was a rock.
I realize that you have quite lost boundary, where no
excess seems excessive, nor to where poverty roots hunger to
need. But should you allow time to embrace you to its bosom
of dust, that velvet sleep, then were you served even beyond
your need; and desire in sate was properly spilling from its
borders, said the father.
Then his son became the corner of a room.
Don't don't, cried the father.
And then his son became a floorboard.
Don't don't, the moon falls there and curdles your wits into
the grain of the wood, cried the father.
What shall I do? screamed his son.
Sit until time embraces you into the bosom of its velvet
quiet, cried the father.
Like this? Cried his son as his son became dust.
Ah, that is more pleasant, and speaks well of him, who
having required much in his neglect of proper choice, turns
now, on good advice, to a more advantageous social stance,
said the father.

But then his son became his father.
Behold, the son is become as one of us, said the father.
His son said, behold, the son is become as one of us.
Will you stop repeating me, screamed the father.
Will you stop repeating me, screamed his son.
Oh well, I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of
flattery, sighed the father.
Oh well, I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of
flattery, sighed his son.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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