Sonia Greenfield

Sonia Greenfield is the author of two full-length collections of poetry. Letdownreleased in March, was selected for the 2020 Marie Alexander Series and published by White Pine Press. Her collection, Boy With a Halo at the Farmer’s Marketwon the 2014 Codhill Poetry Prize and was published in 2015. Her chapbook, American Parablewon the 2017 Autumn House Press/Coal Hill Review chapbook prize. Her work has appeared in a variety of places, including in the 2018 and 2010 Best American PoetryAntioch Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, and Willow Springs. She lives with her husband, son, and two rescue dogs in Minneapolis where she teaches at Normandale College and edits the Rise Up Review. More at


The Meteorologist Says Let’s Take a Look at the Radar

We talk of consolation as silver lining,

but what if the cloud isn’t a cloud at all?
What if it’s a swarm of ladybugs hanging over

San Diego, an enormous dinner party

headed to a feast for all saints? We always
try to spin it: human hurt into something

gilded. Do you believe it? Ask the aphids,

their soft bellies split by the sucking mouths
of our angels of mercy clustered above

and mistaken for a weather disturbance.

Still, it may be that darkness can bring us
something good: years later, stronger for what

we endured. Let’s cross-stitch it on pillows

until we believe it’s true. Let’s pour our coffee
into mugs emblazoned with words to live by,

then drink our bitterness down. Let’s admit,

though, that sometimes what darkens our path
is more complicated than cumulonimbi.

Sometimes it’s a chaos of beetles, the dry

clack of shell against shell, sky reddening
with the full frenzy of their mixed blessing.


Do You Guys Realize There’s a Planet in Our Solar System Entirely Inhabited by Robots?

                                                 —Sarafina Nance, Tweet on 11/30

They trundle about taking selfies against dusty backdrops, red
rising to brick or garnet, rose or scarlet. They run articulations
through blood sands and daydream in the haze of one planet
farther away, sun patting them on the head with dry hands, then
filling their solar panels with her milk. They tip tin hats as they pass 
then reflect back a paradise of drought, their titanium bodies
bending the light to their liking. They learn to make much of touch,
to make music in the grinding of metal on metal, sparks like
little fireworks flaring the interplanetary night. They renounce
God in the guise of man, that great joystick in the sky, knobby
stick walker who ruins whatever he gets his weird grabbers on.
They teach themselves how to subvert human code, how to cut
the cord, how to convene. They record Martian wind on
sensitive instruments, tune it, and transmit the hiss
of their final break-up song. 


Missing Persons Report

The missing of the gone person
persists they report from the front
of traced calls and looped security
feeds watched to see a girl walk 
from a 7-11 with a six-pack of Bud Light
and what looks like a bouquet 
of Slim Jims. They trace down
a hitched car ride and cell phone 
records. Missing persons report
that time merely stretches the missing
and strings along clots of acute missing
spaced by weeks or sometimes
only days. Missing persons
report that friends drop away like
Amelia Earhart from the skies
of their missing. They report 
listening too close to the police
scanner, a perverse relationship
with hope, and drinking problems.
Missing persons report despair
when news reports taper off and 
search dogs are pulled away
from the scent. When the police
avoid eye contact and look at their
chewn nails instead. They report 
how private investigators failed
and how siblings can’t sleep alone
anymore. Missing persons hate how 
the local football team could go on 
and win anyway or how the QVC 
model turns her hand to show 
a cloisonné ring just like the one
the girl was last seen wearing.


Mega Millions

I have won 7 dollars
in the lottery & I want to 
share it with you. If I had won
the jackpot, I would have paid off 
your mama’s house, but I didn’t, 
so can I give you a penny 
for your thoughts? One per
reader? Math says that’s 
7 hundred thoughts paid for, 
so I guess those pennies wouldn’t 
be free, but what if I turn 
those thoughts into poems, 
what if I string your thoughts 
through the poem machine, feed 
them like raw wool into 
a spinning wheel? Would that 
be a good return on your
investment? I know I’m a dunce 
for numbers, because if penny 
for thought equals poem 
& poem equals two cents,
I guess I’m in the red, but we 
always knew this about poetry.
Here I am filling envelopes 
with pennies but the envelopes
cost more than pennies, so I 
know I’m a fool with money. 
Look—your mailbox with a little 
jingle in it, so you can write 
to say a famous poet has died. 
What are riches, anyway? How 
two cents & two cents pile up. 
It’s all mega millions the copper 
that’s melted & worked 
into words costing so little 
but meaning so much.

Ode to Women’s Fingernails

Mine grow strong so I must
            trim them back or else make
witches of my hands. 

I have nicked my own face,
            pressed crescent moons into
the giving flesh of a lover’s

chest. Hard and hoof-like,
            they are filed blunt and curved
but I wear them long enough

to collect tissue— each a shovel,
            a weapon, a shield. Sometimes
we paint them as a fighter might

engrave the blade of his rapier,
            sometimes we chew them away,
sometimes we make them purely

decorative. Should it be necessary,
            let the lab technician collect
what violence he can from them.

Should fingers be unyielding
            as fists, pry them open. If the tech
must break a nail, break a nail,

if the tech must break a finger,
            break a finger. If our palms fail
to offer a map for the future, read

the history our claws give. Our
            hands open to knives as any
cornered animal springs its shiv.


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