Needle in a Haystack, poetry by Richard Hedderman

Our pockets full of stones, we went in search

of the needle in the haystack, the one

the undertaker uses to prick your neck

the surgeon to administer his ether,


the night to blacken its windows.

It’s the blue one tipped with blood,

and the eye through which you chase

the dragon, the shining cells of the serpent,


ants and flies for company. We never

found the needle, but the eye started turning

up everywhere—in the vest pocket of the bum

sleeping on a bench in the freezing rain,


in the keyholes on death row, in the nets

dragging the river for loose change,

a lens through which we read

the fine print, the toppled gravestones.


The writing on the wall.



Richard Hedderman has had poems in The American Journal of PoetryRattleChicago Quarterly ReviewChautauqua Literary Review, KestrelSkald(Wales), The Midwest QuarterlyBorderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and elsewhere. He is a multiple Pushcart Prize nominee and has served as a guest poet at the Library of Congress. He is currently the Writer-in-Residence at the Milwaukee Public Museum.

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