Portfolio of HR Hegnauer's work online at hrhegnauer.com
Excerpt from Sir
I cannot always remember what it is like to stand next to another human anymore. By this I mean, what it is like to stand next to every room in their body.
I like to drink my earl grey just after Ive brushed my teeth because it tastes extra fresh like this — like its from the produce department or something. No one knows this anymore. Every year I Photoshop my college ID to keep it current, and then I go to the opera where it makes my body feel both foreign and local at the same, and I like this contradiction. Its the same way I feel when I write about how the word and is different from the word human. And I think that if everyone could just be a little more and, wed all be a lot better off.
I want to know these things about another human.
The house that Im now living in has a television, which is the first time Ive lived with a television since I was in high school and lived at home. Ive now learned from Oprah what forgiveness means. She said that to forgive someone means that youve realized you dont wish to be any different than you are right now. This does not mean that you must love what is to be forgiven... Or it went something like this... There were no colors. This never happened.
I understand now that this is what happens when a human tries to become an and: the language wont let us.
If its actually true that all poets teach how to lament, then why is it that I dont know how, yet?
What is the difference between grief and lamentation?
Cant someone just tell me already?
Im writing these stories in reverse now because I cant remember how to emit time anymore. I wanted to curse Sir. Dont you know shes got no memory!? But the one from seventy years ago is like a glass of water only even more clear: it doesnt even have that distorted part at the lip: the part where you cant tell how tall something is. The problem is is that her sentences have to exist right now. This is what the limit of her body is.
Sometimes I think about what it feels like to live in Colorado now for the first time in three generations, and I wonder if memory might be genetic.
Mrs. Alice, what are the limits of the body?
This is... This is...
And then that was it. It was like she had forgotten how to make a sentence. This is what? What is this? Or was it, This is, period. Im so afraid of this. I want to make these sentences. And I want to make them sixty years from now, too.
Were you here again last night? Im a little bit confused. I heard you in the echos when you said, Watch out! This is your body. But then I couldnt find you, and I looked; I really did!
But then I took that bit of blow from that boy who told me his name was Peter Valentine, and I wanted to believe him.
Sir, Im afraid Im evacuating all of my bodies right now.
What time is it? A damp translation.
A row boat. A sack of a baby.
This is gone though, Sir. Of ever imagining that.
Dont you get it, Sir?! Or ever having wanted that.
Listen to me, Sir. I know what Im talking about! Or known it. From someone.
Sir, are you someone? No, youre just a ghost. A spook. A haunt and a specter. Youre a shadow now, Sir, and you cant even visit these colors anymore.
What is it like? Is it like skittering? Tell me it is.
Im twenty-eight now, and these bodies are moving quickly, no? What were you doing when you turned twenty-eight years old? It was 1953, and my mother was eight months away from being born. Did you know this?
Im getting back to being a human again, and I guess this is what it feels like: I had forgotten how cold it can get in bed at night when youre only one human.
Sir, I wish you were again to say human how you always would — how youd keep the h silent. And I would say, uman is not a word, Sir. And you would say, Well, of course it is. I just said it.