‘A Small Needful Fact’: Possibly the Most Heartbreaking Piece on Eric Garner You’ll Read
Ross Gay’s unforgettable poem about Eric Garner–who was choked to death by an NYPD officer last July–reads like a memorial wreath, delicately pieced together with pain and sprouts of hope.
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.
Ross Gay is a gardener and teacher living in Bloomington, Ind. His book, “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude,” is available from University of Pittsburgh Press.
*** Used with permission. This piece does not form part of our Truthdig original poetry series, as it’s already been published on another site. For more information on how to submit a poem to Truthdig, click here.
*** 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.WAIT, BEFORE YOU GO…
If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.