Withering Shroud This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Steady, the massive trunk has remained,

Its web of limbs shuddering in the breeze;

The core, shrouded by layers of faded leaves, stands unstained,

As a greenish worm retreats between crisp, paper leaves.

Far below, a lone, umber trunk and its reaching fingers are in sight,

While larger, knobby roots twist upon the ground, bathing in sunlight;

But most lie beneath, pulling fast, fighting undulation

While the painted shroud soars above, basking in recognition.

Autumn arrives; the net of sunlight is left an emerald canvas;

Failing to splinter, the stubborn worm keeps its fragile palace.

The canvas shrieks, emblazoned with gold and streaks of ocher overbear;

Silently, crawling within, the worm nibbles its ordinary fare.

A brilliant parachute drifts, then smothers the ground;

Lost cousins soon join in an accidental mound.

Inner layers dwindle, the magnificent losing their grasp first;

Even the worm inches out of the nudity in which it is immersed.

The tree's branches are visible, the weathered trunk exposed and

left to rot; the tenant sleeps, and of the rotting tree, the

cocooned creature cares not.

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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