photo of two guinea pigs in grass

Opening Lines by Miriam Sagan

(Please rotate your handheld device to landscape mode to provide maximum width for each line.)

The Arctic sea was tossed by terns.

Lucinda had a question.

In the ashes, my life turned to prose.

It was not easy to be sensible among all these guinea pigs.

Like a ragpicker, the writer tries to make use of everything.

Black glassy ice retreated a foot a year.

A woman of 54, she went looking for cock.

We had never quite understood the adoption from Romania.

It was not my problem, and yet I continued to medicate it.

It was the things she believed to be real that caused her the most problems.

Twenty lines should be a sufficiency.

Fatigue ran like a logging road through the daydream.

The snapdress was a problem.

On the other hand, there was always morphine.

Dusk came on like a panhandler in an empty parking lot.


Watching the channel channel they could see there would be no take-off in the fog.

The condoms prevented my grandchildren, unfortunately.

Disparate appetizers lay about the overturned table.

He cared a lot more about plastic containers than he did me.


Miriam Sagan is the author of twenty-five books, including the poetry collection MAP OF THE POST (University of New Mexico Press). She founded and directs the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College. Her blog is Miriam’s Well. In 2010, she won the Santa Fe Mayor’s award for Excellence in the Arts.

Lead image“Sasu & Noppa” (via Flickr user Andy Miccone)