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Assorted Pieces – nat raum

the clock or mr. greenside

something about midwinter makes the night’s first
siren or three sound like howling gales or feral
cries. my blackhole bedroom swallows
your sweat and dust into the shelter of me,

into the rifts where men find refuge in my 
flesh and stay a while. (i reserve the warmth within me 
for those who find themselves otherwise orphaned in the
depths of january.) in falling snow, i beg for baltimore 

summers and their maryland crab heat, ripe and steaming
and sticky. i cough smoke into sky and watch ice-powder 
pack lightly on brick sidewalks as i sink into my vinyl 
mattress and reach over for your mirage. your heat 

on my spine. your lips on my forehead. the way we perspire
together on the kind of july afternoon that makes me long
for blizzards and bruises on knees from black-ice slips
and falls, covered up by cable-knit acrylic knee socks.

un hombre oscuro

i’d trade ten more years of delirium off my life  
just to get a glimpse of the one daybreak every few months  
when you’d drive us east on hillside road toward a sky of  
wisteria and brilliant berry. it was desire that brought  
me here, to this city and to this basement and 
and this barstool my first week in town, thirsty 
for jägermeister and validation. that night, you lit  
a menthol cigarette in the seat next to mine, back  
when you could still do that. eight years later, 
i awoke before my alarm. usually you stirred 
as soon as i did, eager to catch the morning 
sun in my sheet-tousled blond curls as you opened  
your eyes, half-caked with last night’s makeup. 
i remember so little after what came next, after my 
arms reached around and felt your chest cold, doubling  
down on my embrace to find you lifeless. there is no speck 
of all the white lilies or thoughts and prayers that still  
lives in my memory. there is only glass after glass of  
cheap red wine that tastes like currants, newports,  
and the wax of my drugstore lipstick. with each  
pop of a cork, i chase the aural bliss of your lilting  
voice saying my new name for the first time. 
i became me with you, stumbling drunk down queen street  
after two shots too many, waking up at sunrise blanketed 
in goldenrod. my windows now frame views of chrome skyscrapers  
in haze each dawn. i’d give these lungs of mine to watch 
your chest rise and fall, shallow breaths like when i’d wake at 
midnight to find you dreaming of birch groves and lost days. 

About the Author:

nat raum (b. 1996) is a queer disabled artist and writer from baltimore, md. nat’s creative practice centers primarily upon their lived experience with loss and sexual trauma and their subsequent c-ptsd diagnosis, often taking the form of small-edition images/textbooks and zines. past and upcoming publishers of their writing include bullshit lit, delicate friend, kissing dynamite poetry, and warning lines magazine. nat is also the founder of fifth wheel press, a queer literature and art publishing space, as well as an avid fan of glass animals, noise-canceling headphones, and bisexual lighting, preferably all at once. find them online.

These pieces are a part of Issue Two: CHRONOS. Read more pieces like these here!

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