Child Ticket, Please This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

August 22, 2013
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I’m sorry the driver didn’t believe you were fifteen.
Perhaps it was the pram that bred his suspicion.
It may also have been down to the tantalizing solemnity
With which you met his gaze and which now radiates
Cold and earnest from your being.

You stare out the window,
Through the glass, through the people,
Through deep eyes you cast upon the shuddering film-reel of a world outside,
A stare so searching and so clear that
If it were not for the motion of the bus,
Postboxes and trees, unable to escape your gaze,
Would surely shatter into a thousand tiny shards.

There is something so beautiful, yet so sad about you.
My mind ticks on, trying desperately to decipher your expression.
And then you turn toward the babbling infant at your feet
And the ends of your mouth rotate into a half smile.
It is a supreme effort, and the strain, though not evident
From your silky clear cheeks, is written in your bottomless microscope eyes
That can only ever look within.
Perhaps if you could see the things from further away they would not seem so serious,
But, alas, you can’t.
As if conscious of the intensity with which you bore
Into the infant’s soul, you look away,
And the smile which was so delicately, so painstakingly wrought
Is gone,
And a profound melancholy fills in the vanished dimples
And you return to window gazing, pensive beyond belief.

I’m not sure if even your parents could truly determine your age,
So I wouldn’t judge the driver too harshly now.
It is indeed a debate to be had among the philosophers.

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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