Open this when you need me most
Don’t you know? A mother’s love can’t sleep
Instead, let it be the echo to every footstep
Suppose you do change your life
Tell me it was for hunger, a finger’s worth
of dark from daybreak behind the fallen oak,
a scar’s width of warmth on a worn man’s neck
where everything has a price afterward.
I woke into the red dark. There was a door
& then a door
a b c a b c a b c Red
is only black remembering we made it
Don’t be afraid
I approach a field
I pull into the field
& cut the engine
& close his eyes
& this is how we danced
Source: First lines. Vuong, Ocean. Night Sky With Exit Wounds. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2016.
Method: Selected first lines are transcribed in list form, and the poem is written using the list as a basis (including title). No words are added. Not all lines are used. Lines are moved, blended, restructured, and truncated (at end only). All words are kept in the order in which they appear in the original line of text.
Kathy Douglas is writing a series of centos on estrangement using first lines from individual books of poetry. Kathy has three poems forthcoming in an anthology of found poetry, and her work can be found in Right Hand Pointing, After The Pause, shufpoetry, Unlost Journal, Calyx, Drunken Boat, The Cafe Review, Noctua, and Poetry WTF?! She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College.