Stories of Young America

Found poem based on Joyce Carol Oates story titles

Jim Esch
2 min readNov 23, 2022


where are you going?

back there,
where the world becomes
a house of correction,
and drains fill with pastoral blood.

children will stray
to a region of ice
contemplating American adventure
where accomplishments stalk desires.

where have you been?

oh, it was a year of wonders
a summer of wild Saturdays,
happy onions,
silky boys and girls

i began again, and suddenly
my life was over
like a girl at the edge
of the ocean.

I wrote this variation on a found poem after finishing a book of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates. Her story titles are evocative, and I wanted to see what happened when I strung them together into a poem.

“i began again / and suddenly my life was over / like a girl at the edge / of the ocean.” Photo by Aleks Dahlberg on Unsplash

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