The American Observers
by Jim Daniels

                                             St. Julien de Peyrolas

On narrow twisted streets
where stone houses scrape cars,
pre-school children parade through
the village costumed as playing cards—
Carnival in France—glowing coal
of spring sun, sky sweet soul-deep blue,
children dizzy with smooth jazz laughter—
all hearts, they are all hearts—we march
behind them to the square and watch
men pour gasoline on a giant cartoon man
and light him up in all his papier-mache
glory. The children hold hands
and sing a song in ragged rounds
while we watch and cheer.
The burning man will bring luck,
it’s explained to us, the Americans.

Americans, we watch the man burn
to nothing. Our president has taken us
to war yet again. Our son in his cardboard heart
wanders over to join us. Americans,
with all the luck in the world.