No Ears

by Olivia Todd

Stop. Start. Stop. Start. You stumble over your words, like how the startled buffalo used to stumble over their stocky legs. Or how quickly you used to turn your horse with just the pressure of your calves. But you’ve been told to share a story. And this is something that’s in your blood. It flows through your veins as certain as your inner-map of the prairie. The unknown, hidden creeks and the dips in the never-ending hills. Freedom. The wind cries against the glass that forces it out. Your classmates snigger and nudge. Call you savage. But the spirit of your family rises inside. Your tribe’s tales and songs, as sure as stars, resonate in your mind. ‘Sitting Bull. Soldiers in sky. Fall, fall far down. Into camp. No ears. No ears.’ An eruption louder than the explosives; they laugh. They throw parts of tree; paper. The teacher does nothing. Tells you to sit back down. They see you as foreign. But you know the value of being this. How tiny birds work with buffalo to warn them of the approaching wolves. And how the Earth is a continuous circle. Despite being shown on a map as fragmented. You force back the tears and try not to think of where your family is. Instead, you think of how none of these people use their ears. They have no ears. No ears.