Max Heinegg: “Service”





He’d lifted crystal kernel husks, my malt-
mill’s sweet dust. By night, he must have
heard my antsy steps & fled
the basement’s leaky sink, his fountain.

The fridge’s back a flat, our wires a file
for his teeth. Gifted intermittence,
the current no deterrence.
Worse, his shit ubiquitous.

He brought friends; I bought poison.

We passed a season’s silence, until he fell
unseen—his scent revenged.

He’d wintered in our drafts, heard the girls’
laughter from the crawl space, eking
near our surfeit. Had he lazed
by the furnace in the catless calm, or
fretted each moment, an unnerved squatter?

Typing, my long teeth grind to keep my mind
safe from the point. I’ll speak for him:
the peaceful creatures especially have enemies.



About the Author: Max Heinegg’s poems have appeared in Thrush, The Cortland Review, Nimrod, Columbia Poetry Review, and Tar River Poetry. He lives and teaches English in Medford, MA, and is also a singer-songwriter (whose records can be heard at and the co-founder and brewmaster of Medford Brewing Company.


More by Max Heinegg:

Open Letter to Ezra Beeman


Image Credit: Herman Bencke “Two dogs chasing mouse through open case of champagne” (1878) Public Domain, The Library of Congress

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