Erika Barrios

As I stretch the bowstring back, 

I hear a warm whisper brush against my ear.

The wind beckons me to aim higher.

I know what I am doing

when a burst of air makes my knees buckle,

Check your posture, it seems to say,

jabbing at my false assurance.

Again I steady my aim above the expanse of grass,

the host of peculiar outgrowths, targets staring

back at me like hypnotic eyes.

This time I am distracted by the trees,

their shuffling dance with shimmying leaves,

performing against the backdrop of sky.

I know what I am doing:

finding freedom from the focus. Without guilt

there is joy in the distance.

Determined this time, I pull back my hair,

even roll up my sleeves. I point my arrow

lower than I learned I should, knowing

I won’t pull back this time. So I let go

and trust the wind knows what it is doing.


Erika Barrios is a senior majoring in English Literature and the editor in chief of Helicon for the 2019-2020 academic year. She enjoys poetry (obviously), running, thrift shopping, and curating the perfect Spotify playlist to match her mood.