by Milly timm
My aunt dances across this kitchen,
then forest. She holds clippings
of faces and flowers,
magazines and tree branches.
When she hums with the radio,
garbled MPR turns to birdsong.
It’s warm here. Wrapped in the scent
of bread and pine sap, I sleep
on scattered leaves and tiles,
My aunt sees me, and laughs.
It’s like bells…
the copper sound of their ringing.
Her eyes roll gently over me, and
a breeze kisses my cheek.
I look up, half dreaming.
A paper hawk,
sometimes feathered, sometimes not,
looks back. She hangs quietly
behind my aunt, and the two watch closely
as I sleep.
Restless, we drove
into the plains of South Dakota.
Motion held in the tips of our fingers
with deep electricity.
With that hum running through us,
we followed the barren
red line where sky touches earth
for the road to reveal itself.
as darkness soaked full into the sky,
night swallowed us.
blue unto black,
From my seat
I felt myself break away,
leaving my body behind.
I watched as thousands of buffalo
ran wild toward the road,
crushing my body with it.
Growing hooves and a hide,
I ran with them,
painting my own blood
into the iron earth.
I am running with them still,
toward the fire of the horizon,
where I will meet myself again
in the plains of South Dakota.
"Paper Hawk" was noted as a finalist for our 2017 Stephen Bonga Award for High School Students.
Milly is a high school junior in Duluth, Minnesota. Raised on freshwater shores, she became a writer when she wrote her first of many poems about Lake Superior. This is her first publication, and she hopes to pursue a life full of writing and wilderness!