I’ll keep this short today since the poem speaks for itself — Ross Gay’s “A Small Needful Fact.” I know I already shared this poem with some of you, but it’s the poem that’s haunted me this week, so I have to share it again. I had the good fortune of hearing Ross Gay read this poem at AWP a few weeks ago. I jotted down some of the language so I could find it later, and then couldn’t find it anywhere. Then Split this Rock sent it into my inbox (I recommend signing up for their newsletter). And thank god. I needed this poem and I imagine a lot of other people need it, too.
A Small Needful Fact
Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.
Used with permission.
Ross Gay is a gardener and teacher living in Bloomington, Indiana. His book, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, is available from University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015.
Please feel free to share Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this post, including this request. Thanks! If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.