Youth Poet Laureate Writes About Growing Up in Rural Nebraska

Each year, Nebraska Community Foundation commissions the state’s Youth Poet Laureate (named by our partners at the Nebraska Writers Collective) to write a poem centered on our annual theme. This year’s winner, Aliyah American Horse, writes about her experience growing up in Gordon, Nebraska.

SMALL TOWN STARS
BY ALIYAH AMERICAN HORSE

When we were little
We used to spend our time looking at the sky
Asking ourselves what tomorrow will bring
Our earliest years were spent dreaming
For things we never imagined we could reach
As children we were dancers, teachers, writers, and preachers
We were politicians, actors, and musicians
We could travel anywhere—no matter how far
We knew we could do anything under the stars
The ones that lit the quiet corners of forgotten towns
The stars that our little hands were wrapped around
It wasn’t just our parents who taught us to dream
But the community guiding and nurturing
Through life’s grand scheme
Our hometowns are just dots in the rear view mirrors
To cars passing by
But to us, it’s where aspirations lie
It’s where the streets are lined in familiarity
And family isn’t just family
But community
Where dreams aren’t just dreams
But reality

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