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As you can see, poly is a genuine polynomial, not a symbolic expression:

sage: poly.parent()
Univariate Polynomial Ring in x over Integer Ri

You can get its roots as follows:

sage: poly.roots()
[(-4, 1), (2, 2)]

So, you can see, that it has root -4 wirh multiplicity 1 anr roor 2ยท with multiplicity 2.

Note that poly. == 0 is the boolean False, since the polynomial is not the zero polynomial:

sage: poly == 0

If you really want to use solve, you need to transform the polynomial into a symbolic expression as follows:

sage: SR(poly)
x^3 - 12*x + 16
sage: SR(poly).parent()
Symbolic Ring

Then, you can do:

sage: solve(SR(poly),x)
[x == -4, x == 2]