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