The second stage is sleeplessness.
At first there was worry.
The third stage is “ordinary people.
”The fourth: what to do.
The first stage is chaos.
The second is invention.
The steam engine. The napkin.
The picnic table. Money.
First you were walking across a bridge.
Then you were flying.
Then you were sweeping the floor.
First comes love.
Just a little pinch.
First the pupa, then the wings.
The first thing is labor.
The second, we don’t know.
First comes water.
A hurricane. A sigh.
Abigail. Norma. Laquisha.
Molly. Sylvia. Roxanne.
Temperance. Emma. Delilah.
Daphne. Wilhelmina. Georgette.
The first stage was childhood.
The second stage was Beatrice.
The first stage was Beatrice.
The second stage was hell.
First the city, then the forest.
The second stage was Virgil.
The third stage was expurgated.
The fourth went unnoticed.
The last stage was a letter.
A single meaningless hum.
What came first the money launderers or the flatterers.
What came first the Catherine wheel or the icebox.
In the beginning a voice.
In the beginning paramecia.
First carbon.Then electricity.
In the beginning a tree.
Before the house, a cave.
Before the cave, a swamp.
Before the swamp, a desert.
The garden was in the middle.
Between the sidewalk and the street.
In the beginning soup.
Then tables. The stock market.
Things on four legs.
In the beginning I was frightened.
Then the darkness told a joke.
Which came first the river or the bank.
Which came first the priest or the undertaker.
Which came first crime or punishment.
Which came first the firemen or the cops.
Which came first conquest or discovery.
The fork or the spoon.
The point or the lineup.
The FBI or the CIA.
Which came first gravity or grace.
Which came first cotton or wool.
Which came first the slaver or the ship.
Which came first the ankle or the wing.
The hummingbird or the frog.
Puberty or ideology.
Which came first memory or forgiveness.
Which came first prohibition or women’s suffrage.
Coffee or tea.
What came first yes or no.
What comes first silver or gold.
Porcelain or silk.Pen or paper.
What came first Kyoto or Dresden.
What came first the renaissance or the reformation.
What would you rather be a rabbit or a duck.
Who is more powerful Mephistopheles or Marguerite.
Who’s it going to be me or you.
What would you rather do burn or drown.
In the beginning I was invincible.
In the middle I came apart.
First there was a library then there was a café.
Then there was a wall of glass.
Which came first The Melancholy of Departure or The Double Dream of Spring.
Which came first repression or resistance.
Grammar or syntax.
The siren or the gunshot.
Which came first granite or marble.
The army or the drone.
The whistling or the blackbird.
Which came first sugar or rum. Pineapple or bananas.
The senate or the corporation.
Was the story half-empty or half-full.
What feels better pity or anger.
What scares you more life or death.
What describes you best, the steam in the engine or a penny on the tracks.
What were you thinking, a whimper or a bang.
What would you choose, a sandwich or a phone call.
What did you expect, a question or an answer.
A piano or a clock.
Take all the time you want.
– Elizabeth Willis