Erica Fiedler
New Poems From the USA
please note: like most, parts of this scene
are mechanical…cranks are turned
by a hidden man on a ladder or
under a closed stair.

   look—this takes place
              before crossing streets do.
i imagine it early enough
   to have been painted by hand,
 in the spirit of geometry or revolution;
     the divine frenzy of a child’s

                                    so far, this is not envy—
                               correspondence is a necessary entertainment.

they still need a queen
   to open a bazaar.                                        it has been revealed
                                                                     they lived for years
                                                         on fountains and phonographs;
                                                                           a story handed
                                                                             down by an honest seamstress.

i am listening to a cavatina
played by a one-man traveling
                                        band.                             i am eyeing a woman
                                                                          for her petticoat and for her hair—
                                                                                      she froths like a fine

this is a village of cathedrals
and cots.                                                    the cello-shaped sailing ships
                                                                                                   are gone.
      on occasion, coquettes
      peek out from constell-
      they check the water
      in canary cages and
      the lids on jars of jelly,
      as if this hamlet is just
      a candle or had left for the