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Topography of Whole Notes and Holes



Lewis and Clark High School, ’17
2016 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors’ List

An empty room. A window screen

that pixelates the view
of unfamiliar architecture

and off-green grass.

My suitcase
waiting for me to crawl inside.

I unfold, turn
its cover, a pop-up book

with mountain climbers in sketched
clothes and backpacks

two dimensional and therefore empty.

A destination: a hotel room
where the beds are cradles underneath

a children’s mobile
with a heart at the center

of the moon’s orbit

and these gravities
are pulling us

to the center of the earth—
all my unpacked laundry

paper outfits and cutouts,
my body filling

the spaces in between.

Where the cardstock is torn, at the top
of the highest paper peak

I cut out the moon;
it lays flat in my hand

like a sand dollar,
a jagged planet
unbeaten by waves.

I turn it over to its dark side
and it becomes

less like a coin and more
like an eye, brown

with a pupil of emptiness brimming over
the space inside a whole note.

Something is missing, as if
I might emerge

from the black and white pool

in color, as if I might step
out of myself and arrive.

Ben Read lives in Spokane, Washington, where he is a junior at Lewis and Clark High School. His work has been recognized by RiverLit, Eunoia Review, 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. Other than writing, he likes to participate in speech and debate, attend and read at local poetry slams in coffee and burrito shops, and listen to music like the Juno soundtrack. His favorite muse is the river.