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Kerri Sonnenberg

Issue 4.1 

Winter 2024


Anyone who has lived with a 4 year old has probably received as many invitations in a single conversation into a universe, ever-shifting and luminous, of that child’s own creation. I imagine each directive as a door into a potentially shared imaginative space, assuming the receiver can participate in that world as fully as the young mind that imagines it. This is a very fleeting phase of childhood, I’ve found. Soon these become private worlds. Poems and their making strike me as an analogue to this—persistent, calling out for a game-enough mind to join in.

Direct Orders

                              -For Vivienne

Pretend the sun is shining.

Pretend that I just slept on the trampoline.

Pretend my sisters let me. Pretend I had sisters.

Pretend that this whole river was mine and I could swim and drink from it at the same time.

Pretend that my shadow fit in your pocket and went places with you while I am at school.

Pretend that I liked helping you when I was a dog.

Pretend the sun is too bright and we can’t see anymore.

Pretend I can see the future and it contains my tooth.

Kerri Sonnenberg is author of The Mudra (Litmus Press). Recent work appears in Peripheries, The Arkansas International and Oversound. Originally from Illinois, she now lives in Cork, Ireland.

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