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.
at the bottom;
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.