Kyra Arena discusses “Fly Away”

Who gets to define what “America” means? Politicians get a lot of air time. We wanted to hear what “the people” think. So in Fall 2021, we launched a contest asking UConn students to tell us what “America” means to them. We received a diverse array of responses in the form of short essays, creative writing, poetry, photography, and other forms of original artwork, from students across UConn’s schools and campuses. Of these, eight winners rose to the top based on their originality, creativity, and quality.

View the video below to hear Exhibition Finalist Kyra Arena read her poem “Fly Away” and discuss the inspiration for this work. 

Fly Away
by Kyra Arena
CLAS and NEAG (Double Majoring in English and Secondary English Ed.)
UConn Class of 2023

I see a glorious eagle menacingly swoop down and
Crush the rabbit’s neck with its talons.
Disturbed, I cry out:
“He can’t breathe!”
After a moment of grief, I fly away.

The next day, I saw the eagle
Circle above a nest of squirrels who
Dispersed in terror at the sight of their predator.
Never to be united, for the eagle was now between them.
Upset at their predicament, I fly away.

By the river I saw the eagle loom innocently,
Until he dived into the water, resurfacing with a fish.
The surviving fish have no place for refuge,
For their home is now a feeding ground.
My heart strings tugged, yet, I fly away.

I weep for the rabbit, squirrel, and fish
But remain blissful in my ignorance.
Until I hear the remaining animals say:
So what do savages do?
“Fly away.”