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He Is My Guardian This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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My head rested, ear pressed
To cream-colored couch. It was warm
From a fever-wrought forehead, and the air tasted damp and stale
Like buttered toast left on the counter all day.

A mound of matted gray, hamster nose, and rusty purr
Breathed against my stomach.
He is a guardian with crooked triangles for ears
Round and wise and watching
Like a fat harvest moon
Or a gargoyle in front of gilded mansions.
My hands
Warm and sweet-smelling from a summer tan
Weakly clutch the royal fabric over my stomach
And feel the fur that has made itself welcome there.

We were spry toddlers together, awkward teens with knobby knees
We watched together as our world crumbled and moved and shifted
To fit a new last name
But now
I've been left behind.
Still the sweet protector he's always been,
So mild, even a fish would not detect his pulse or claws
He is an old man now
With a slight limp;
He needs a cane
And I dread the day
He will no longer be waiting for me.

But here, his lemongrass eyes stared
suspiciously at the click of a camera
While mine, deep brown, stared blankly ahead
Trying to make this moment seem candid
And keep the smile out of them.

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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