Max Heinegg

A Stranding

Rare for Gloucester, we found the common dolphin’s
frozen body beside a lost child’s hat, fifty feet up
from Lighthouse Beach of Annisquam, the top of the rock 

where to the left vineland emerges- Wingaersheek,
whose name is bird & body in the shoreline, cold
trembling for you. His black tongue juts,

hardened to indignance, the smile only an underbite,
gray hourglass flanks a gift only a vulture can open,
the crows & gulls content with eyes. How did he end up here?

Chasing fish in the wading pools? Stranded on the ebb
until he lay beside the Irish moss in the driftwood’s brush?
Below him, we see the small holes in the sand from birds’

beaks, the wider ones breathing clams my nephew crushes
with his sister’s yellow toy shovel. The side of the good
mammal peels, only the season stays his disintegration.

Did he miss a flood that would have returned him
with its rising, or did hunger tell an irresistible lie,
that he had enough time before the falling tide?


Max Heinegg’s poems have been nominated for Best of the Net, and The Pushcart Prize. He’s been a finalist for the poetry prizes of Crab Creek Review, December Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Cutthroat, Rougarou, and the Nazim Hikmet prize. His poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Glass (Poets Resist), Tar River Poetry, Free State Review and The American Journal of Poetry, among others. Additionally, he is a singer-songwriter and recording artist whose records can be heard at 
He lives and teaches English in the public schools of Medford, MA.