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 Poetry, Rattle, Chicago Quarterly Review, Chautauqua Literary Review, Kestrel, Skald(Wales), The Midwest Quarterly, Borderlands: 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.