Brian Baumgart

Honest To God

Inside the jar smells sour,
its contents a putrid hurricane.

I consider drinking, consider
losing myself, consider choking

it down, because, let’s be honest,
legs barely move this carcass

these days. Hips grind, concrete
on concrete, and the songs

I sing all sound like ash. Whispers
tear wildflowers from earth,

drop them in oil, root up, shriveling.
I’ve been told suicide

tastes like rusted blades but looks
like an old white man in an ill-fitting

suit. He trumpets into a microphone,
snarling like a jackal chewing

off its own leg, so I pass him the jar,
offer him a drink, because my pain

is simple, just a body
breaking down.


Brian Baumgart is the author of the collection of poems, Rules for Loving Right (Sweet Publications, 2017), and his prose and poetry have appeared in a number of print and online journals, including Noctua Review, Cleaver, SLAB, Ruminate, Journal of Wild Culture, and The Good Men Project. He is the Director of the AFA in Creative Writing Program at North Hennepin Community College, just outside Minneapolis, and is 2018 Artist-in-Residence at the University of Minnesota Cedar Creek Ecological Science Reserve. He has an MFA from Minnesota State University-Mankato. His son adores mythological monsters and cryptids, and his daughter has learned to croak “Redrum” while angling her finger at strangers; he will gladly accept responsibility for these children.