Published on Academy of American Poets (

All I Can Have are Field Recordings of the Field

I can never have the field. I can never halve the
field, make a helix of my hands and hold the

like pictures of the field—or fields—and affix one
feeling to the fields—or the infinite field—and stay
that way

I can walk down to the bog, the field
under-foliate-feet, in a bloodflow motion towards
the beating

of the bullfrogs’ black-lacteous tactile pool and
listen to the unilluminable below-surface stirring,

gravid ruckus of drooling purr and primordial bluebrown
blur. I can aggravate the grating godhood and glisten

of preening slime—its opaque, plumbeous,
tympanic slurps—an inside-outside alertness

burrowing, harping with pings and plops
(lurches), and make the mossy froth go
berserk with silence,

then foofaraw when the bog in the field senses I am
nothing to fear. I can hear amphibious amour fou

under a blue-green gasoline film, spongiform but
formless, boiling with blotched air-bubble let-go, life

the surface in slicks of upward rain and glossopalatine
pops and liquid crop circles. I can stop here and

in time with the bobolink and make my bel
memento, my untremendous tremolo and
rinky-dink dictation.

In the fable, the animal smells fear and so does the
fool. I think to myself—in my skull’s skeletal

I am both. I am both. I am both, and I can hold it


Copyright © 2020 by Kristina Martino. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 28, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“This ars poetica sets up a loose dichotomy of what the poem and poet can and can't do, and then almost immediately gets lost in a litany of the narrator’s own listening and mimicry thereof. The actions embody the sounds of the field in the poem's language so that the poem becomes its own field recording of sorts. Both the experiences of being in nature and being in a poem are acts of time, and the poem recognizes its limitations as a field recording (or picture) but also its role as mundane reliquary or receptacle. Ultimately there can be no ownership of nature, only observation, and the poem acts as a container that holds disparate elements together and enacts its own landscape via language.”
Kristina Martino


Kristina Martino

Kristina Martino is a creative writer, visual artist, and instructor living in Boston, Massachusetts.

Date Published: 2020-04-28

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