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sonia greenfield / poem

Getting The Message

—For Eliza

It was maybe an Asimov story I read long ago about a computer designed to do the math of God & when it finally deciphered every equation, the stars blinked out one by one. Ever since I’ve had dreams of apocalypse: enormous, black ships blotting out the sky, every dream etching our end into the cosmos, & all day afterward, the residue of those dreams hangs on my skin like ash of a scorched earth, & all day a random chill climbs my spine. I feel this tingle again when a text pings in because

I am in my tiny world & the ether is a cloud

of time where those I have loved exist unbroken

& unchanged even by age. In college we were

a tight crew who shut down Irish pubs, our clothes

stinking of cigarette smoke. All our flirtations

glowed like bar lights through cosmopolitans.

We were besotted mostly with words & wanted

to make love like they did in the books we read

for class. I used to make out with my girlfriend

& S wanted to be with J & E was the glue who

kept us together. But is dying such a surprise?

No, but a buzz on my phone startles me from

the fantasy where nothing has changed, not even

myself. Constellations blinked on in her body

as we shouted with laughter on a Saturday night,

our futures obscured behind San Francisco fog

rolling down from Twin Peaks. We circulate

the photos & mischief is the flash that catches her

dark eyes, she the very picture of joie de vivre, as if

it matters how fiercely anyone clings to being.


Sonia Greenfield (she/they) is the author of two recent collections of poetry, All Possible Histories (Riot in Your Throat, December 2022) and Helen of Troy is High AF (Harbor Editions, January 2023). She is the author of Letdown (White Pine Press, 2020), American Parable (Autumn House, 2018) and Boy with a Halo at the Farmer's Market (Codhill Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in the 2018 and 2010 Best American Poetry, Southern Review, Willow Springs, and elsewhere. She lives with her family in Minneapolis where she teaches at Normandale College, edits the Rise Up Review, and advocates for both neurodiversity and the decentering of the cis/het white hegemony. More at

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