The man vending needles at our door
Was lucky to greet you.
He looked poor but you acted needle-poor
Where I’d have said, I don’t need ...
He sells needles to prick your heart
And they’ll take small bites
Out of my finger in a layer of skin
Where my feelings are thin.
The old thread knitting together his many wools
Might last another trudge
To our porch: he came last year but I
Refused and barely looked him in the eye.
I’ve lost how many needles since then?
Besides he is mute
And would see how dumb we are to buy
Three hundred needles for relief.
But he supplied us to the end of life.
I’ll give away some.
And you might never use these points
That push through cloth, cut to be made one.
Sandra McPherson, “Peddler” from Radiation (New York: The Ecco Press, 1973). Copyright © 1973 by Sandra McPherson. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: Radiation (Ecco Press, 1973)
Poems by Sandra McPherson