Max Heinegg's poems have been nominated for Best of the Net, The Pushcart Prize, and been a finalist for the poetry prizes of Crab Creek Review, December Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Cutthroat, Rougarou Journal, Asheville Poetry Review, and Twyckenham Notes.
His recent work appears in 32 Poems, Thrush, Nimrod, The Cortland Review, and Love's Executive Order. He lives and teaches English in Medford, MA, where he is the co-founder and brewmaster of Medford Brewing company, as well as a singer-songwriter and recording artist whose records can be heard at www.maxheinegg.com.
Our Lady of Montreal
In the basilica, every image in my eyes
from a dead hand. I’m in that darkened half-
dreaming of mercy I missed
beneath Perseverance & Temperance’s
ten bell carillon, passing into the castle
of the spirit. Everything is gifted,
birth mostly. Feeling spurious, less after
forgiveness than temporal boons, shallow
as my ghost will be, but boyishly wanting
to earn my spurs, deserving as Percival
in Excalibur, to leap from raggedness
to champion in a flat-bladed kiss. Really,
I’m kin to the child imitating prayer,
clasping palms on the long pews, wishing
peace was a matter of falling in
with the faithful, but I know the clouds
are gated, & that my heathen’s dialect
betrays sibilance on the shibboleth,
while my own children ask after the exit.
Were the trees always this macabre,
the witch wrists of beech & pine
stands so ragged when the widows &
their faithful named the windings down
past the reservoir & the moraines?
Babson's Italian masons left us 1950s
inculcation that no longer cuts it.
COURAGE is hidden in the woods.
INDUSTRY is a more level stone
than SPIRITUAL POWER, but notice
their closeness. INTELLIGENCE is
not to take a selfie by it; Fisher says it's fine
at the top. My daughter sits on IDEAS,
my winsome niece on STUDY, mom's favorite.
BEON TIME allows no spaces. My first thought's Beyonce, then Beorn,
then beyond. Dogtown, once dubbed
for the company the animals gave
while the men warred, winds on past
where we’re willing to go. So follow
the way back across the railroad, & walk
between the rails, ponds on each side, no cars
in the distance. A lab is posed by LOYALTY,
& it’s pleased to be pleasing. The platitudes don’t
account for birth. Luck is talk of a shelter pup,
not having to make false promises to a child.
The Sunday path the rich planned to inspire
virtue is nowhere without a map.