In the morning, I dissected the face

of a rose. The flayed petals fell apart


like honesty. Out of its flesh

grew obsidian and basalt and all


the dark trauma of the earth.

I asked of the rose and it opened.


I kept its red in jars on my dresser.

In the morning, a stone black crow


cawed to me from the cleaved branches

of the dogwood. I knew rawness,


and I thought of you, figure formed

in the stain of color. I was the crow


and you were a tree of roses.

Ben Read lives in Spokane, Washington, where he is a senior at Lewis and Clark High School. His work has been recognized by RiverLit, Gigantic Sequins, and The Adroit Journal, and he was named a 2015 Foyle Young Poet of the Year by the Poetry Society of the United Kingdom. He recently co-founded Ponderosa Literary Journal at his high school. His favorite muse is the river.