Thursday 18 February 2021

Five Poems by Max Heinegg

 



Kidney Stone

 

-          For Jeff Albertson

 

When the dark wizard reigned in the body

of Theoden, King, Wormtongue spoke

for the man who shrank, etiolated

by the drawn blinds, whose stifled air became

a mist in which all visitors seemed enemies.

 

Now expulsed from the throne room,

banished upon pain of death,

the lifelong reader knows he will return

to his serpentine plots, sharing the secret

passage to the stronghold of Helms Deep.

 

Meanwhile, the white cloak commands me

to let the traitor live, so to study

what droughts or poisons grew his power,

& one day, let his knife slay a greater enemy—

but the savage interim, while he’s passing,

taught me to curse his name.

 

 

Stumper

 

 

Snapped up,  there’s blood,

but folded seven times,

knives glance.

 

Waved, a lousy fan.

Squared in a pocket, pursed

points kiss.

 

Lost in the wash, bleached

ink, edges pucker, a mussel,

good flesh inside.

 

 

The Groundhog of Gull Bay

 

 

Is a bold whistle pig. I see

in disbelief, he can climb trees, & consider

this while our teens sunbathe, eyes closed

to “Dear Prudence.” For now, he saunters

up the knotted carpet to the top of the stone

by the deck, listening to adult guff. He’s a big one,

getting comfortable with us, chilling by the swings, ranging

by the fireplace. Why not? While the bushes squawk

(there is a fox) & squirrels float on the kids’ slack-line,

the crown prince of ground cover

ambles off & back, sampling the compost,

unsatisfied, on the lookout for our next offering, yet

growing wide as the summer.

 

 

Odd Man Out

 

 

Owl’s luck to find her in my place, draped

across my wife, my younger daughter also

there in her sweaty density beside

the white giant, Bear Bear, another squatter.

So, I wend through the dark to their bunk

where even the laptop is re-charging.

The bed’s too short for me, too hard.

No Goldilocks, I lie, butt out, big feet

off the edge. No Procrustes to fear,

only outlines in the shadows: the lion,

& sideways camel, the snow leopard

& unicorn. The faces of her menagerie

inspecting a stranger come to join.

 

 

            Kindling

 

 

This storm’s gift

for animals whose work it is

to burn the dead.

 

If cleared, shoots lift,

plants extend. In the wind,

tonight, a neighbour’s fire offends,

 

its wax & sawdust smoke

a refusal of the good

system before them. What falls

 

grants more light & air

for the remaining branches

bow to the earth & gather

 

none of this wasted.




Max Heinegg is an English teacher and a recording artist whose records can be heard at www.maxheinegg.com

His poems have appeared in 32 Poems, Thrush, The Cortland Review, Nimrod, and Love's Executive Order, and his poetry reviews have appeared in Rain Taxi and Atticus Review.  He lives in Medford, MA, where he is also the co-founder and brewmaster of Medford Brewing Company.

 

I make records; here they are:

https://maxheinegg.bandcamp.com/


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