Sonia Greenfield



Sonia Greenfield was born and raised in Peekskill, New York. Her poems, essays, and fiction have appeared widely, including in 2010 Best American Poetry, The Bellevue Literary Review, Cimarron Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Rattle. Her book, Boy with a Halo at the Farmer’s Market, recently won the 2014 Codhill Poetry Prize. She lives with her husband and son in Los Angeles, California, where she teaches writing at USC.

Two Ekphrastic Poems




River Dolphin

I thought I was going
to tell you about that ship
in the Yangtze, how upturned
hull sat on the rusty surface
like an iceberg

in that the better part
of the boat hung beneath
the churning like muddy
catacombs. I thought I was
going to tell you about men

in orange vests pressing ears
to cold metal, listening
for pings and knocks. Thought
I was going to admit relief
to learn it was pensioners

and not a school trip,
thought I’d admit how easy
to accept motherless child over
childless mother. I thought I’d say
how the weather lashed,

thought I’d picture a whip
of rain wrapped around upper-level
rails, how it snapped the top
under. Instead I want to say
all the Baiji are gone.

Fishermen plucked them
from a river, which makes its
bodily exchange. Rocks along
shore are heartless, and the endless
coursing absorbs all the rain.



A Tweet Reads, “The Smallest Caskets are the Heaviest”

—Peshawar, Pakistan

I saw the cement walls
pocked with bullet holes.
The shoe left in a black clot
smeared with a darker
red. The blood you shed.
In photos where you carry
the bodies of children from
a school, your expressions
are stricken, but I have to
pin this on the breast
of your unfairer sex. So
you heft small caskets
above your head. But let’s
admit the lasting burden
rests on the shoulders
of mothers. Photos show
their features blurred by veils
cut from the cloth of grief.

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