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Susan Briante

Susan Briante is the author of three books of poetry including, most recently, The Market Wonders (Ahsahta Press, 2016). She teaches in the MFA program at the University of Arizona and co-coordinates the writing program Field Studies Southwest, which brings MFA students to the U.S.-Mexico border to work with community-based environmental and social justice groups. She hosts the radio program Speedway and Swan and lives in Tucson, Arizona.

By This Poet

3

October 14—The Dow Closes Up 10015

I bleed a little, peyote tea waits in the refrigerator,
a Ferris Wheel rolls and rolls over the highway
after the miscarriage, we search 
for rings with missing stones, unmatched earrings
sell our gold, ride the Ferris Wheel bigger than Paris,
my parents pray for us, I play Dylan's "Spanish Boots"
over and over, the sunroof fills with stars 
like watching a film of strangers I recognize
but don't really know
Schuyler says you can't get at sunset naming colors
between the liars trees and shopping carts
we buy a house, cry in bed, leave 
the child unnamed
pink lemon pearly blue white

Off Lows, Weakness Remains: Meditation #3

In the PartyStore/PierOne/Target/Kohls parking lot
find a desert willow among the shopping carts,

walk around it sunwise repeating:

        I am the avant-garde, I am the avant-garde, I am the avant-garde

repeating:

        DIY, DIY, DIY

Imagine a chart of median family incomes as big as the parking lot—
use it to determine where to abandon your car.

        I default, I default, I default

Your mind is a blood blister rising on your thumb, a ladybug.
Among these shopping carts, you fortress. Among plastic bags you affirm:

Lo! the light from desert trees does not speak in numbers, costs us nothing.
Here, as in a butterfly garden, everyone crawls before flight.

13 Questions for the Next Economy

On the side of the road, white cardboard in the shape of a man,
     	     illegible script. A signpost with scrawl: Will pay cash for 
              diabetes strips.
 
A system under the system with its black box.                    	Disability hearing?
a billboard reads. Trouble with Social Security? Where does the riot begin?
 
Spark of dry grass, Russian thistle in flames, or butterflies bobbing
as if pulled by unseen strings            	  through the alleyway.
        	
My mother’s riot would have been peace. A bicycle wheel
              chained to a concrete planter. What metaphor
 
              can I use to describe the children sleeping in cages in 
                  detention
centers? Birds pushed fenceward by a breeze? A train of brake lights
 
extending? Mesquite pods mill under our feet
on a rainless sidewalk. What revolution            will my daughter feed?
 
A break-the-state twig-quick snap or a long divining       	    as if
for water? A cotton silence? A death?          	      Who will read this
 
in the next economy, the one that comes after the one that kills us?
What lessons will we take from the side of the road? A wooden crucifix,
 
a white bicycle, a pinwheel, a poem
waiting to be redacted:                         Which would you cross out?