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Paper Fossils This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
While rummaging through a dusty old box
That had been shoved into a corner of our garage
I sifted through the scattered pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of your life.

Amid an assortment of photographs,
A genuine golden nugget,
Filtered through the sieve of my fingers
from the mess of faded photos that surrounded it
Torn at the edges, and creased along the middle,
Was the paper that had once identified you.

Your name, typed in black lettering
Neat, rigid and straight
Served as a contrasting border to the
Colorless jewel in the upper left corner.

A mug shot, black and white,
And meant to be as cold and rigid as
The line of your four neatly typed names below it,
Was made a parody by the grinning face it captured

The dark background that they placed you in front of
Couldn't hide the fact that your dark skin was from
Too many days of skipping school to lay in the California sun

No matter how hard they tried
The rigid box that outlined the photo
Couldn't hide the hair that was too long
To be considered conservative.

Your picture mocked the name below,
The name that was so formal, and so serious,
So much that I had to laugh.

I compared this foreign face
With the colored picture
Of the plastic card that you keep
In your wallet now

Your hair is short now
And your beard is trimmed
But just as the skeletons in the Smithsonian,
Although very different from how they once looked,
confirm that dinosaurs did roam the earth,

That treasured artifact,
The mug shot from '74
Proves that despite your trimmed hair and collared shirts
Decades ago, you walked the streets
In ripped jeans, and sandalled feet.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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