Story About a Boulder

I’m not going to tell you how I ended up in the Menomonee River 

and seeped the water with sediment until no plants grew. 

When the current ran ten feet a minute, fast as sturgeon. 

There was time when I was a dandelion seed 

and the wind carried me, free and far. Past Three Bridges Park, 

when I landed the days of being careless lessened. There were days 

when the sun shined and nurtured me. But rain and hail persisted 

threatening my existence. Another day goes by. 

Eventually I unfurl and find the need  

to stay rooted. Polar vortex snow hugs me in its frigidness. 

I have my parents’ blessings, but it dwindles every day. 

I can’t tell you how I escaped the grasps of grief. However, one day 

I met a squirrel in its cheek. Close to death, but stashed me in its nest 

And above the ground, I fell and floated like I did before. I became myself again. 

Although most of me were still roots, dangling in the air.  

What did I have to lose after losing my fellow dandelions to coughs and short breaths?  

Alone I fell into the basin below 

Like a fry being released into the watershed, the river became my home.  

However, I didn’t become some salmon. I sunk to the bottom and corroded. 

A rock sits at the bottom of the ever-flowing cycle. Stubborn but stronger.

Kia Vang is a graduate student studying English. As a Hmong American born and raised in Milwaukee, Kia’s experiences merged with her work as education coordinator at Milwaukee Riverkeeper, a local environmental justice organization. This is her creative metaphor of local history in which everyone here has some relevance to.