Alice among the Wonders

This morning she left her apartment or her rental house.
She set off to find the Job Providers she recognizes
by the cut of the backs of their suits. The tailored strut.

Alice scours Milwaukee* for the Door to the Good Provider.
Meanwhile, frumious paws, black gloved, toss her belongings
out onto the street, almost as fast as snatching claws

had already changed her lock. Then the belongings
that don’t belong anymore are picked through.
Vanishing Alices watch backs turn and desert.

On the curb, what used to belong to any Alice is sold
to the next Alice to be evicted in some tenement
up or down the street. Which street? Which address?

Alices’ addresses may have mattered once, to Alices.
Streets rot into hollow alleys that blacken into tunnels.
Alices in tunnels grope among dark sparks of lies.

Gray shadows of Alices gather in the dust of
their American nightmare. Alices cry for comfort
outside the stylish barrens of an unspeakable New World.

* For the full adventure, read Evicted: Poverty and Profit in an American City by Matthew Desmond (Crown 2016). Consider the city–cities, really — of your choice, or the sadness of your own cruel dependence, in or out of the barrens.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.