“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.

This poem is reprinted with permission from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness — a biennial gathering offering opportunities to speak boldly for justice, build connection and community, and celebrate the many ways poetry can be a practice for social change — will be held on March 26–28, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Learn more.

Listen to Ross Gay’s On Being interview, “Tending Joy and Practicing Delight.”