en rose


silk dusk creeps across midtown,

wraps my staycation suite in mauvepink

as night falls over johnston square

to the east. three steeples and two pulsing

red radio towers sit level with my eighth-floor

perch, a veritable army of assorted blackbirds

scattering across the skystage between me

and the horizon. i’ve taken five years

off from climbing high enough to see the city

like this, squat redbrick houses gridded

across cracking concrete, just like the sidewalk

i grew up skinning my knees on. i wonder now,

my face reflected in the rose enamel

wardrobe, if i will ever trip over the roots

of a tree that’s taken back another city’s

sidewalk, or if i could search the world

for a brand of charm i’m convinced lies

elsewhere and decide the grass still grows

more luscious alongside our rogue roots

and potholed thoroughfares every false spring.

i am encased in a mulberry-walled cocoon

for the moment, but if i ever grow used

to the hum of another traffic grid, will i

remember this bed’s flamingo-print canopy

and the way i can see fire trucks roar by

so far east i can’t hear them right now? if i dare

to pry myself from compacted soil and concrete,

to pass enough days in that somewhere to stretch

skyward again, will these days still dwell

with me in such fondness?


nat raum (b. 1996) is a disabled artist, writer, and genderless disaster from Baltimore, MD. They’re the editor-in-chief of fifth wheel press, as well as the author of you stupid slut, the abyss is staring back, random access memory, and several chapbooks. Find them online: natraum.com/links.