Max Heinegg

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As One Does

When the door slammed, I laughed at the ghost.
When they bled on the chair, I wet the cloth.
When they fainted, I shook them to the nurse.
When they vomited, I asked the janitor.
When they were dumped, I let them doze.
When they failed, I taught them again.
When they cheated, we met in the hall. 
When they fought, I stood between.
When they cursed, I said pick your spot.
When we rehearsed a shooter, I kept shit light.
When their parents died, I joined the queue.
When their siblings died, I guarded them.
When they overdosed, I wrote elegies.
When the towers fell, I lied to them.


As my doctor traces the waves 
of my atrium, interpreting 
the distance between them, I hear 
the cleft metal of a city bell 
& wonder how long the rain had to fall
to rust the structure
until the bronze cracked.
Still clothed in hope,
I drive home beneath the clouds
of a storm everyone said was coming. 


The bay window went invisible
after the storm; we stood 
pouring second cups of coffee.

Now, there’s a shovel in the shed 
to keep the fox from the wings, 
& I’m sent to grant decency 
a cover-up. Yet I wonder why 
we begrudge him a gift?

For the bird, the grass will become 
a fairer grave— 
but I pity the fox, & 
judge the rain.


Max Heinegg’s poems have been nominated for Best of the Net, and The Pushcart Prize. He’s been a finalist for the poetry prizes of Crab Creek Review, December Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Cutthroat, Rougarou, Asheville Poetry Review, the Nazim Hikmet prize, and the Joe Bolton award from Twyckenham Notes.

Additionally, he is  a singer-songwriter and recording artist whose records can be heard at