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

December 6, 2010
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It watches attentively,
Often trying to copy his every move, fails.
Gentle, leathered hands reach down to nurture the growing mind.

Both share the same passions.
They laugh, frolic until interrupted by work.
Days go by slowly for the shadow.
Night brings new meaning.
The shadow races home through hay fields to await the man's return.
Midnight stories become sparse – until gone.
Man becomes old, brittle with age,
The shadow still growing in height and wisdom until the same size as him.
On sunny days, the shadow is missing,
Off following another being,
Growing wiser, aging with time – a willow of its own creation.
Soon, a deadly storm arises, bringing the shadow back.

The old man is dying, weathered by age.
He saves his last glimpse to see his once small shadow.
Tears fall like rain; the shadow now stands alone,
Awaiting to have his own.

Life changes,
People grow up,
The mind ages and progresses with time.
Some come, some go,
But family lasts forever.
by Corey Hurn, Middleburgh, NY
Oh, how my miniature tree sits upon
My plate in a sense of triumph over
The other foods I was reluctant to grab.
What a dynamic duo we have become,
Together we wrestle with hunger's persistent attack, without
Even breaking a mere sweat.
You are a villain compared to
The Apples,
And pineapples.
Your kind is left untouched at dinner parties
And uneaten at salad bars.
They look upon your bushy green hair and
As if it was a natural reaction, you receive the
Same face as lemons do.
by Marcus Hardy, Bloomfield, MI
no copper ring
on any finger
she once sat on my
kitchen floor and cut off all
her hair, creating

a coppery ring
around her legs folded flat
under her body

now she lays down flat
her eyes shut with long dark hair
copper crowns her head
by Michal Zweig,
New City, NY
Reading is dreaming with your eyes open
My back curves over in a clam shape
My left hand reaches up to play with my hair as my right flips to the next page
My glasses wait on the dusty table next to me, resting for now

I contemplate the plot twist I didn't see coming
I cry out in anguish or jump for joy
I can't believe he said that to her and I most definitely can't understand why she decided to go back home

The characters become my friends, my children, and my siblings, tended to with the utmost care and understanding
Or else my caustic thoughts taint the story like rancid chemicals
It drops me right into other people's worlds, right up in their business:
I get to see how the other half lives or why some people do what they do out of love or hate

I quickly flip to the last page,
Racing against the clock as my mom yells “For the last time, Ashley, come get your dinner!”

I read the last line once.
Then again.
And once more to let it soak in.
I can't believe he died.
I hold the book gently for a moment before tossing it on my bed and going to enjoy my spaghetti.

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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