On Creating Demons
A chicken crows evening in a hideaway hen–
house, songs of remembering and choosing.
I left my vitality, once, in the arm
of your apartment, a crooked yellow elbow. Do you remember?
Do you remember the sun? How it used to shine lucid and lemon,
distorted rectangles over honeyed hardwood,
and your cooing that all would pass. Edelweiss
and a stinging certainty that feelings stick
to words and words stick to everything.
Under your elbow/hand on hip I read
of riddled tudor homes and pairs of animals
reclaimed on deserts. Matted fur stuck to my
knee pads, cross-lined stencils on skin. Honey sun
replaced by a domed overhead light where I recited
salmon migration patterns to you and you read
me the stories with the endings. I have come
to pick up my belongings. The salmon
sweep, bronzed and bluing along the river.
The river’s growing cold. Hurry time. You remain
where I left you yet you are in the apartment,
you are elbow and cell bar and where
are my belongings? Porcelain sticks
like powdered seashells stuck to the heels
of my palms. I want so badly to release my demons
to you. To watch them chase you in dinnertime light.
I want so badly to tell you the things I never chose to hear.
The mirror has morphed into a liar,
again, she has curved her frame like the spines
of the girls who swerve in the short videos
or the ridged back of a feral dog. My belly
bloats in her image, puffed like the interior
of a day old croissant, and I have begun
to feel the merge of morphed frames
(and fronts). If the man near that fountain
in London can lay corduroy jackets over valuable
real estate and name me a racist for minding
my business then you can surely call me.
Pick up the phone and scroll to the first letter
of my last name and tell me what I want to hear.
I have trouble with the dosage of my own
medicine, you see, like thick bubblegum Pepto Bismol
it slides down and I can feel it all the way.
Some baddies on the internet post photos
of neon bikinis and their slim beige bodies behind
them. My mirror is whispering New Years resolutions,
green juice, grind in the tri state area until March and then
hit Miami. Whores. Subway tiles either align in a fifty-
fifty split ratio else they break into thirds and it all goes awry.
My lips have always been too thin to be kissable and
I am jogging along the sidewalk in January and the air
is hazy and warm and soupy and I could be in Florida.
If you just pressed on the first letter of my last name,
we could start the whole story, you know. If you just
did all the initial work I could catch up, carry my weight,
somehow—(fingers crossed and) pinky swear.
—Dylan R. Ragas ’26’s column, “Yard Sale Organs,” is a collection of poems that attempt to make sense of a past—real, imagined, but mostly somewhere in between.