Pick-a-Poem: Fleda Brown


Hello, blog readers, and Happy Wednesday! I hope you’re all having a splendid week so far. If you need an excuse to slow down and read some poetry, take this week’s Pick-a-Poem post as your moment to do that. Each week, we feature a new poem here for you to check out. These poems all come from Poetry Daily, a site that features a new poem every day. This week we’re featuring Edward Hopper’s Automat by Fleda Brown.

According to the bio page on her website, Fleda Brown has written several collections of poetry, the most recent of which, No Need of Sympathy, was published in 2013 by BOA Editions, LTD. In 2010, her collection of memoir-essays, Driving With Dvorak, was published by the University of Nebraska Press. She served as poet laureate from 2001-2007 and has read and lectured in many schools and other locales. She now writes a monthly column on poetry for the Record-Eagle newspaper in Traverse City, Michigan and has a regular commentary on poetry on Interlochen Public radio.

Edward Hopper’s Automat by Fleda Brown

The Automat serves the original and loneliest fast food.
Drop in a coin. There could be no one else in the world,
just you and something made somewhere else.
The young woman sits at the round table,
rows of reflections of lights seeming neither inside
nor out, in the huge black beyond of the window.
The door and the radiator stand to the left, neither
managing to convince the other of warmth or escape.
Her green coat laps open, half between arriving
and leaving. Holding her cup suspended
with her bare hand, the other gloved, she is neither
drinking nor not drinking. Yet on her head is the most
yellow and chic cloche, round and drooping.
It’s awkward, this leftover hope, shading the downcast
eyes. Yet, if you approach her, tell her it will be all right—
maybe nothing is wrong. Or maybe what’s wrong
is the best thing, her possession, what can’t be bought
at the Automat. Maybe she’s gone too far to want
to be distracted now. Maybe she can see from here
the internal workings, where all is sorted and rearranged.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poem! For more posts like this, click here.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan



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