the wax paper

Upon Slipping on the Morning Frost-Turned-Ice on My Porch While Two Frozen Jack-O-Lanterns Glare at Me

Judging me, I’m sure, perhaps furious

that I’d carved through the thick chunk

of rind, that I’d given them eyes and a mouth

without gracing them the capacity of sight

or speech. As I slid past them, knees buckling

down the concrete steps, the gourds stood guard

in front of the door, one gloomy and grimacing,

it’s face sunken from the alternating heat and freeze,

the other with a wicked grin of my own design.


I’m here

at the bottom;

I’m here;


for the first time,

the view from below.


The pain is catalogue: 

Knees bent, a sad reverse triangle. Ankles turned, wrists

scuffed, fingers throbbing. Blood decides

to whimper through flesh, smattering pin drops

across the surface of skin, and all I hear is the melody

to “Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head,” yet

my head is fine, or at least uninjured,

though often I feel as hollow

as the pumpkins: Are they as unsatisfied

with their perch as I? Do they, too, wish

for expressions beyond sad and happy, façades

carved by another?


Their mute faces gaze back at me, seeing nothing.


Brian Baumgart directs the creative writing program at North Hennepin Community College, where he also teaches as a member of the English Department. His fiction and poetry have been published in various online and print journals, including Sweet, Ruminate, and Cleaver Magazine.