ryan norman


Everything went dark, the clouds
crowding the sky, stacked
on top of each other, a menacing
crowd jeering from the nosebleeds,

thundering warnings
to leave before a rainout. The storm
came quickly, as it always did, and I
swiped the downpour—my hands
wiper blades set to the highest speed—
trying to clear my vision, as hail
stones pelted my flesh, cracking my
exterior: glass thin, wet
to the bone, eaten by the dark. But

I only ever wanted
to be consumed by you in one flash
flood. Your dry season never left.


I came across a car in the woods. It sat,
overturned, stripped by time, in a lush

ditch, a boulder headstone. Trees
crowded and pined over it. Its

insides exposed, soft from rust. I
wondered how it ended up there,

so vulnerable, between two footpaths. No homes
in sight. Who left a car to be

assailed by time? But I’m rusted, too,
since you left me here lost among the birch

skins. Your handprints left
on my heart. Nothing shines anymore.

Not even in the sun. And I touch myself
just to pull away iron

flakes, as I deteriorate in
my own embrace.

Ryan Norman (he/him) is a queer writer from New York living in the Hudson Valley. Ryan enjoys swimming in mountain lakes and climbing tall things. He is a contributing editor of creative nonfiction with Barren Magazine. His work has appeared in From Whispers to Roars, XRAY Literary Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Hobart, Maudlin House, and elsewhere. His micro chapbook I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A BOND GIRL is forthcoming with The Daily Drunk (2021). You can find him on Twitter @RyanMGNorman or ryanmgnorman.com.