Published on Academy of American Poets (

Per aspera ad astra

We were lost in the plains,
beautiful and ordinary.
Sunflowers in the fields,
seeds of fallen stars,
standing tall; deeply 
rooted in this land.

I’ve admired how our flowers
shine, grasping towards the sky,
beyond the prairie grass, anchored
down to earth; mimicking the sun.

When a gardener plants the 
seeds of Helianthus, they are 
performing magic. Raising
stars out of the dust where
buzzing planets circle, half 
red moons set, and swarming 
comets float in orange comas.

I’ve always felt that late at night, 
in the bed of a truck, in a Kansas field, 
we were at the center of this universe.

And I was exactly where I should be,
amongst the flowers, not below.


From How to Hang the Moon (Spartan Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Huascar Medina. Used with the permission of the poet.


Huascar Medina

Huascar Medina was born in Killeen, Texas. He is the author of Un Mango Grows in Kansas (Spartan Press, 2020) and How to Hang the Moon (Spartan Press, 2017). Medina is the literary editor for seveneightfive magazine, a Sunday columnist for the Kansas Reflector, and a staff editor at South Broadway Press. He currently resides in Lawrence, Kansas, and serves as the seventh poet laureate of Kansas. In 2022, Medina received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship

Date Published: 2017-02-01

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