National Poetry Month Day 3: Heather Christle







A title can
do many kinds
of work. In
some cases it
acts as a label
for its contents
as when my
sister’s husband’s
(a simpler title
is Fran) wrote
on a small
cardboard box
the word PINS
which named
the sharp lines
she kept inside
whose work
includes holding
cloth together
and taking little
pricks of blood
from a hand.
When she moved
into the nursing
home they kept
her belongings
in the basement
of my sister
waiting for
to change and
when Fran died
and my sister
went down
to the basement
with her child
to be among
the things that
remained she
opened the box
and the pins
all spilled to
the floor and
when my sister
is gathering lines
in her hand
which yesterday
held Fran’s
the box is still
titled PINS but
now it is doing
different work.


Photograph of Heather Christle by Christopher DeWeese.

Heather Christle is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Heliopause (Wesleyan University Press, 2015). Her first work of nonfiction, The Crying Book (Catapult, 2019), won the Georgia Book Award for Memoir, and has been translated into seven other languages. She teaches creative writing at Emory University. More from this author →