When I was drinking, the metal never stopped
at the gate- the arm lifted & the spokes released
the man easily as animal. Such nights were
more acquiescence than pleasure, flushed muscle
memories, promising later to stop the clouds
from carrying off the sky. Past those mornings,
I’ve taken to a desert faith, at every moment’s altar,
reciting the day’s single-clicking prayer, & listening
to the sibyl sing her rejoinder, Stand clear
the closing doors. Stops I missed, afraid
to edge my way through morning strangers.
Once, you said, I don’t have to be anywhere,
& I agreed. So much we saw
is a story whose details are better not
remembered. These days I do.
*Stanza 3, line 12; a line from “Alcohol” by Franz Wright
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, and the Nazim Hikmet prize. Additionally, he is a singer-songwriter and recording artist whose records can be heard at www.maxheinegg.com. He lives and teaches English in the public schools of Medford, MA.