A splinter of bone makes a needle
that can prod a splinter out of flesh.
A needle can shrink a swollen knee
or swell a basketball.
A needle in the lobe pierces your ear with gold.
A needle through your ear drum silences the world.
Lovers needle each other,
taking stitches in the heart.
A needle plunges poison in your veins
or pulls out blood to reveal your cure.
Two needles fashion a sweater to warm your chest.
Two needles hold thick hair to cool your neck.
Pine needles stay alive for three years.
Their fragrance heals your lungs.
Several needles, well-placed, mend a tendon.
Drinking one needle can kill you.
A needle can drag a dead singer back to life
or scratch her vocal cords.
A red needle signals you are running out of gas.
A quivering needle aligns with the North Star.
Listen for the sound of needles.
Every story has one.
First published in Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine