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Inherited / Northeast Regional

By Dylan R. Ragas, Crimson Staff Writer


For somewhere, there’s a house that’s burning.
An old man rambles how after a hard day of work the first thing
they gifted the farmers was a potato like a gnarled fist.
The boy on the red-stitched rug pauses, notes the
pause, says I love that. To the enthusiasm and never the
suffering. Earlier in the day the lights direct traffic. The boy is
walking because it’s green because it says so.
Down the street there’s a song playing on the old man’s radio
about the brine at the bottom of olive jars.
How the lover used to laugh when the loved one drank it.
It makes the old man want to eat his own hand.
The boy thinks one day he will live in Italy, in a vaguely religious
castle. He thinks the moon will droop like hot brie cheese, he thinks
he will find a broad-faced man to love in Italy, that they will
pierce thin tubes into each other’s arms and ping blood to one another
like a fetishized donation or the ultimate show
of affection. The boy is sitting in the center row of the
Exhibition theater, now. Third row, below the lightbox.
A broad-faced man bows at him and then the cast slinks
backstage, curtain rippling like black velvet soil
over the fists of potatoes.

Northeast Regional

In hours on a train I have learned a third heart-
beat. The wiggle of yachts on a gray November harbor, a yellow
crane, craning. There are so many ways to not
think, turn face from the little girl in the shaved spruce assembly hall,
with the smooth glazed benches, waxy to the touch,
or playing goalie in pickup soccer because nobody else
wanted to, priding herself for it, or crying when the concrete
grates the skin over her knee. Even in the violence of autumn
you can’t forget those lifeless Long Island highways—
how the fuchsia of the leaves looked middling red
against the beige walls of the Party City. The train skips
a platform, careens towards Moynihan. You worry the City
is too clichéd, lie to yourself that there is no more art
to make out of concrete jungles, cradle a comfort show, static.
You were too young in 2011. If you were nineteen,
you could’ve enrolled at NYU, worn chunky bead necklaces,
a master flip phone texter. These days, there’s a damp clay ball
lodged in your rib cage. Cuddled to the left of your lung.
Your bones feel agreeable, like they would bend, slightly,
before they snapped. That third heart is beating somewhere.
Your spit grows thin. You endure.

—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.

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