tonight, in baltimore
After “Tonight, in Oakland” by Danez Smith 

nat raum

a sober baby walks into a fancy cocktail bar, 

contemplates swedish aquavit 

for just a moment, & orders a teetotaler 

that’s too spicy. it’s me; i’m the baby. 

i pick what my dad & his best friend 

would call the scarface table—the whole


patio visible from a perch in the corner. 

my best friend from undergrad says i love 

mount vernon at night, says this is the europe 

they tried to make america into. i am fixated


on the patron sitting at the corner 

of charles & madison holding a cat 

in one hand, a drink in the other. 

my old coworker walks by, waves, & now i know 

why i can’t pry myself from this city’s 

blue-crab claws. it’s not the mocktail 

or the cat or the european tendencies—

no, it’s the whole damn aura of redbrick 

and formstone in late september, the way

the breeze alone is enough. it’s fayette 

street potholes, how i still forget i can’t 

turn left onto the highway and have to 

make a u-turn, how every time i look up 

from my drink, heavy with capsaicin, and hear 

P E D E S T R I A N S: bus is turning 

i am transported to my remington living

room whose windows overlooked 

a bus route. a sober baby falls in love 

with a city plastered to the seats 

of its bars, can’t shake the habit once 

they get sober. i rest my head against 

the bar’s facade, blur vision until the string


lights overhead are stars, rustling like leaves 

in the september wind. i sound the hollow 

chatter of a straw in spent ice, satisfied. 

there are lights everywhere, but here, i am 

home. i am enough for this city.

nat raum is a disabled artist, writer, and genderless disaster based on unceded Piscataway and Susquehannock land in Baltimore. They’re the editor-in-chief of fifth wheel press and the author of you stupid slut, the abyss is staring back, random access memory, and others. Find them online at