to the ten-year-old teddy bear living rent-free in my bedroom, By Katie Tian

to the ten-year-old teddy bear living rent-free in my bedroom,

you’ve made a home in the space behind
my vinyl headboard, loose limbs fitted

against its quiet curvature. your jaundiced fur
thinning around the belly, a memento

of the hurricanes, late nights grasping
for comfort. look how simply

you were made, age tugging a current
against ivory stitches. we were sisters

once, mapping red skies & playing
hide-and-seek in the expanding space

of my bedroom. we were young,
sheltered, doe-eyed innocent: unprepared

for the unending night, for plucking
shrapnel shards from our tired bodies.

now your fur has thickened from years
of disuse & i have stories to tell

you of five cities melding into one. sing me
your elegy tonight—we were only kids

searching for home—the cicadas’ evening song
smothers you. the half-written elegy bleeds,

asphyxiates, on the jeweled rust in your larynx.
i’ve never been good at goodbyes so

i’ll ask you to whittle yours into vinyl
for—when the sky blisters,

then quits—i will syncopate your once-steady
heartbeat to mine. i can no longer fit

my hands around a city’s throat and give
it my back, so i’ll leave a shrine

of honeyed memories & sell you like
a fossil to the highest bidder

for every dollar or two of your worth.
look how simply we forget.

By Katie Tian


Katie Tian is a 15-year-old writer from New York. She is a Scholastic National Medalist, and her work has been published in Blue Marble Review, The Incandescent Review, and elsewhere. She likes clever metaphors, oatmeal raisin cookies, and sharing her poetry with the world.

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