O Night Divine
Straight-shot past sunset—no tolls, no gas, no pissing, camels
for two hours with the kids asleep to talk about our life
until the 10-year-old wakes, insists on Christmas music.
It’s Nov. 26th, but we find it more easily than we avoid
weaving semis & cars with more than three stickers,
our test for madness. The road ahead with Josh Groban,
singing All oppression shall cease, a defended future
no one believes. Then Whitney sings—the same title,
but is it the same song? When she scales, stratospheric,
or glides with the lyric, & we’re hurtling with her,
pushing 80 down a highway paved by the dying class,
witnessing the miracle she grew sick of, the voice
in the garden not recognized until exile was no surprise.
Mercy upon her & the doomed star she followed
to lose her gift. In faith, every time she sang, she flew
up the ladder to tell us what it looked like, to dream of
better days when we’re in the desert. She took a picture.
Take It Like a Man
Are there any rules in this house? The girls’ guest
asked, seeing fists of chocolate, toxic nail painting,
an eight-year-old turning gas burners,
the swingset slide I angled off so the kids fly.
She saw the snow we packed by the stacked cord,
so sleds dent our neighbor’s fence.
She didn’t see the wolf mask I keep in my closet
so each Halloween, I don’t need a new costume,
but she can if she returns. If she makes the cut,
she’ll learn the yard’s pitch & the game
the girls created where they take turns not flinching
for a sister to whip a cord through the wind
& the tetherball at teeth.
I ask them to tell me the rules, so I can write this.
My wife & my eldest laugh, There are none.
Don’t you know what the name of the game is?
Max Heinegg’s poems have been nominated for Best of the Net, and The Pushcart Prize. He has 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. His recent work appear in Thrush, Nimrod, and Love’s Executive Order. Additionally, he is a singer-songwriter and recording artist whose records can be heard at www.maxheinegg.com