Sympathy · Max Heinegg

She’s all five. If she can rise at four for iron
with the dead, hip-bones half cadaver, so
can you. A falling axe clobbered her in the garage –
but she rose, a la the wife in Tampopo. She survived
a bacterial assassin, & wandered out of Maternity
with a cyclical fever, until a sister cell-phoned
a Hail Mary, insisting on an ambulance. She enlisted
L’il Napoleon to break her arm between textbooks
to miss gym, rewarded w/a flight down the laundry
chute. Drinking, smirking at what’s left of a 6th grader’s
finger, Is that ketchup? Her second C-section visit
was like getting my nails done. She’s a mother, pushing
her girl into a midnight pool to swim with sharks –
if there’s no one to forgive, there’s nothing to fear.

Max Heinegg's work has been nominated for the Pushcart and Best of the Net, and was a finalist for the poetry prizes of Asheville Poetry Journal, December Magazine, Crab Creek Review, Cultural Weekly, and Cutthroat Journal, among others. He lives and teaches in Medford, MA where he is the co-founder and brewmaster of Medford Brewing Company.