burn your belongings (excerpt)

I can only sleep for a short while. I don’t need her. I don’t owe her anything. it’s none of her concern. it was an accident…”

by david hoenigman

I contain my excitement by envisioning our failure. by letting it soak in until it has it’s way. I’m left on a lonely corner watching garbage blow up and down the street. I wait until the sun rises. until every possibility has been exhausted. I’ve been unfaithful. I can only sleep for a short while. I don’t need her. I don’t owe her anything. it’s none of her concern. it was an accident. brings out the bully in him. simply slipped through my fingers. he owes me his love but I won’t expect it. I deserve his respect but I’ll no longer ask this of him. she didn’t sleep either. her head throbs. disaster always strikes when she’s away. there’s never much time for anything else. to give. to listen to him mumble to himself. I want to go somewhere. I want to say I’ve done something. this gets into everything. like sand. between our toes. behind our ears. in our pockets. in our shoes. my blood’s no longer red. I can prove it with a broken bottle. I’m boneless. it’s not what I thought was waiting. worms and a name chiseled on a stone. it continues to flow. it gives shade. shelter. color. at that moment she knew beyond a doubt he’d never change. that in a way he was stronger than her. sometimes I look around myself and everything is perfect. a single ray of light through a hole in her despair illuminates the dust settling onto the floor. he doesn’t care. he never did. she expects to hear a hollow thud. he’d forget to water the plants. feed the goldfish. take out the garbage. he’d let his teeth rot and drop out. they are inseparable. a snail and it’s shell. she’s staring at me. I’m looking for someone who’s never felt he’s had an influence over the end result of anything. someone to whom I otherwise would never speak. from a place I’ve never been. entirely different ideas. inconsequential. low on the ladder. she doesn’t smile like she used to. neither of them verbalize their sense of loss. hundreds of mornings. afternoons. but there’s peace in this. everything’s known.

Originally published:
Issue Forty-Three
June 2006
(illustration: dee sunshine)

David F. Hoenigman was born & raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He’s very grateful to Six Gallery Press for agreeing to publish Burn Your Belongings, his first novel, due out summer 2006. He lives in Yokohama, Japan with his wife Mayumi.  They are expecting their first child.

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