“It Vibrates, It Is Deadly, It Is Very Necessary” by Sonia Greenfield

Sonia Greenfield


How it hangs in the water, an iridescence of blue tentacles
Outstretched & you only want to touch its
Poison. We know some things
Exist innocent to their venom. Even

I could lick the dart frog for a taste of the
Shimmering undulations wet across its back.

Then I see it again in the ashen tone of the Ukrainian soldier’s face.
How it drags at me all day, what we
Entreat of this world. That some could

Tally him as nothing more than a spent casing
Hurled from the butt-end of a Kalashnikov.
I see how his mother curves her body over the casket &
Nurtures his death toward something noble while
Gently o so gently cupping his face in her hands.

When even here—which seems so far from there, though
I know it isn’t, because even they once
Thought to be done with war & its drab rot rolling
Heavy artillery across fields now certain to fall

Fallow—I tend to tiny pots packed with loam.
Every waning winter I
Ask seeds to become something more.
That even in the garden I cultivate
Here on my windowsills in March, I load
Each pot heavy with need & if luck be—because
Really, that’s what twists with it—all the
Sprouts will take. Their roots anchored & actual.

from Poets Respond
March 20, 2022


Sonia Greenfield: “This poem is an acrostic that borrows the title of the well-known Emily Dickinson poem, as I have been thinking about hope lately. How it buoys us, and how it lets us down. Yet, without it, why do anything?” (web)

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