The Needle

Jennifer Grotz

        "When your eyes have done their part,
        Thought must length it in the heart."
           —Samuel Daniel
. . . Thought lengths it, pulls
an invisible world through
a needle's eye
one detail at a time,
beginning with
the glint of blond down
on his knuckle as he
                              crushed a spent cigarette—
I can see that last strand of smoke
escaping in a tiny gasp—above the table where
a bee fed thoughtfully
                               from a bowl of sugar.
World of shadows! where
his thumb lodged into
the belly of an apple,
                              then split it in two,
releasing the scent that exists
only in late summer’s apples
as we bit into
                   rough halves flooded with juice.
Memory meticulously stitches
the market square
where stalls of fruit
                           ripened in the heat.
Stitches the shadows stretched and
pulled across the ground by
the crowds pigeons
                           seemed to mimic
in their self-important
but not quite purposeful
            singly and in droves.
Stitches the unraveling
world where
only vendors and policemen
                    stood in place.
"The Needle" from The Needle by Jennifer Grotz. Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer Grotz. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Poems by This Author

The Whole World Is Gone by Jennifer Grotz
Driving alone at night, the world’s pitch, black velvet

Further Reading

Poems about the Mind and Thinking
Experiment in Divination: Voice and Character
by Rebecca Wolff
From Trance Notebook #2 [nerdy questions about exact pitch]
by Wayne Koestenbaum
Intention to Escape from Him
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
It was a hard thing to undo this knot
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Joseph Brodsky in Venice (1981)
by Campbell McGrath
Museum Guard
by David Hernandez
Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow
by Robert Duncan
Panels for the Walls
by Cedar Sigo
by Bruce Cohen
The Long Hand Wishes It Was Used
by Jackie Clark
The Whole World Is Gone
by Jennifer Grotz
by Walt Whitman
Why I Am Not a Buddhist
by Charles Bernstein