They are the unfaltering line of guards. Stronger than gold, silver, or iron, they stand.
Emerging victorious from flesh in our youth, they claw their way out from above and below, looming tall to begin their duty. Some straight, some not.
The world, time, and experience, test them, and we expose them upon whim or provocation.
Pain, power, pleasure; they stand unchanged. Only our expression gives them meaning.
They never judge while guarding, routinely softening what we throw at them as we force them to collide with their comrades.
As if they can predict we will be rash with our choices, they break it down for us, like an exasperated mother. They stand, unwavering and stoic, as months, years, decades test their form and composure.
One by one, the guard crumbles.
Pearlescent turns discoloured; clean lines become ragged edges.
As our bodies begin to falter, so do they.
The last breath snakes a lazy trek, finding crevices and gaps to push through.
Then, all at once, they are relieved of their duty.