Archaeology

When I die, I’ll leave my body here
for you to dance around in socks
on the floor of your home, tripping

on the way to the bathroom
where you scrub your eyes

like attic windows before falling asleep.
Remember my arms, the way
they offered my body as a gift.

All bones crumble to ruins;
when my chest decays,
it will be empty.

These are the facts of a skeleton,
paper skin flaking, scattering words
on the backs of decomposers,

an old book having its pages cut out
with a scalpel, leaving a box with a name,
a title without a story.

Revise me, pour soil in my chest cavity,
let the grass grow through the tiled floor,
let my rib cage form the walls

of a private garden, secret hydrangeas
and sweet blooming four o’clocks.
I want to become an old home,

where animals live and communicate,
living within the foyer in my skull,
the grand hallway in my femur,

feeding on the leftover nutrients
of my neurons, my handwriting,
my favorite kind of ice cream for birthdays.

I ask you to dig up a hole,
plant my roots deep in this world
where we cried wine at kitchen tables,

a radio play echoing static
like laughter, like snoring,
with a fierceness like the wind.

Let my wilderness grow until the wind comes
then the animals will migrate beneath sky,
fawns and calves taking their first steps

stumbling through time and rose beds
across linoleum until they fall
and the earth thanks them.

Ben Read lives in Spokane, Washington, where he is a junior at Lewis and Clark High School. He has been recognized by inroads, RiverLit, Airplane Reading, and The Adroit Journal. Other than writing, he likes to assault people with philosophy while participating in speech and debate, attend and read at local poetry slams in tiny coffee and burrito shops, and listen to music similar to the Juno soundtrack. He wishes his dog Wally would be a better muse, but until then, he’ll have to stick with the river.

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