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Some Thoughts Regarding My Longing For Leaves This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   My three guinea pigs are savage but ineffective animals. They are fat and cuddly, with big eyes - they are small and compact, with huge teeth. They dart about and run into walls and such with a terrible ferocity. Their mumbling purrs and small shrill squeaks have something of the high mountain shadows in them.

My guinea pigs are descended from the small surviving beasts of the age of the Death of the Great Reptiles. They ran and bit in sharp streaks then. They lived on their speed and on their warm and astonishing phenomena of blood and fur. They hid under moist spreading bushes as the bodies fell like the sound of thunder striking the ground, in the end.

We all come from those common quick-eyed parents, but I look at myself, at the smoothness and the length of my bones and skin, and find it easier to think back to the tree-dweller and water-lover. My Smaug and Fafnir in their cramped cage more closely resemble the ancient hider. My Yevaud sits large and black behind her bars and stares at the air all day. Her brain is small and precludes introspection or deep memory. Yet in the fairness of all things she must remember.

What is it like for them, the weak, prisoned descendents of the strongest survivors of the end of a universe? I wonder how it affects them, in their bones, in their nerve endings - where the instinct patterns they don't understand beat out the rhythm of their short, wide lives. Do dreams of high grass and screaming blood-clawed birds disturb them, sleeping chubby in the wood shavings?

I have often wondered also about those birds - the birds of now, the ones on the sidewalks and on the roofs and the streets. The birds are fluffy and small, sleek, beautiful, raucous, weak, noisy, clever, cruel. In the flying and in the pecking and chirping, is it an uneasy reminder - the old, old knowledge of being descended from dragons?

It could be frightening, to know of devolution. It could be the greatest strongest source of pride.

I am spreading. I am smooth. These fingers can hold a pen, but once I could climb to the branches of the sky, as though I might have been the wind itself.

What of me? I am down out of the trees. Have I climbed down also from my seat behind the wings of the dragon? I am no longer of the sun. I am no longer of the jungle. Can this form and these fingers let me fly again? n


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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