Brian Baumgart

Incomplete Metamorphosis[1]

I am a symptom of a larger paradigm: men who awaken
from a sleep we’ve never fallen into

Some might say we’re born into it, this half-sleep of thousands
of years.

But in this collection of nymphs, our adult bodies
pull out, incomplete. We haven’t changed the way we need to change.

And who can blame us? It takes time to come all the way,
and staying through winter tattoos risk on our necks.

It’s a kill-off if the ice we bury ourselves in is as wicked as we know it can be.

Last year, we froze to death. This year, we try to rise, to come through, to complete.

I still feel
my veins
like icicles

and I dream of wings unfurling, shaking dry, humming. In this waking dream
the wetlands have warmed, and we’re growing, finally.

[1] Inspired by the study of dragonfly nymphs.



Brian Baumgart is the author of Rules for Loving Right (Sweet, 2017), and his writing has appeared in a number of journals, including South Dakota Review, Cleaver, Whale Road Review, Midway Journal, and previously in Sweet. He is the Director of Creative Writing at North Hennepin Community College, near Minneapolis, was 2018 Artist-in-Residence at University of Minnesota’s Cedar Creek Ecological Science Reserve, and a 2019 Best of the Net nominee.


… return to Issue 12.3 Table of Contents.