Susan Briante


We stuff steel wool
into cracks along the roofline
spray silicon in gaps,
night blackens windows,
casts reflections back to us
until we feel clasped
as in "here is the church
here is the steeple"
but the neighbors
stay away, 3 days
after the poet's
death his email came,
a light touch,
he wrote, he wanted
to make the room lighter
we hardly have enough, cut
a hole in the kitchen wall,
you can learn about time
from brick, beam, board,
what remains unmapped
is more than we know,
whenever in doubt
win the trick, the kitchen wall
does not teach missing.
            After midnight an owl
sets the dogs barking come out,
come out, I am dying,
the owl closes an eye
like the unborn
makes a sound like a shutter
and we want headphones
wherever we go, locked in winter
gauze light through the front
door you leave
            the window closed,
another way of killing
what gets caught
between glass and screen.



Someone maps the unmapped sectors of the cosmos
the Himalays look nice from cloud
Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan
            I've tried to record what I can, document

start at the edge of a piece of paper
cross a track.

Sometimes we don't feel the burn of a space heater until hours later.

A child came and left like a stranger at the door.
There is no map for her coordinates.

So we try again on the twelfth or thirteenth day at the edge
of a lunar cycle, a blank piece of paper


1= Creativity, independence, originality, ego, self
the unity of all things, symbolized by a circle








In May 2009, I began recording the closing number for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. I’ve let those numbers randomly guide me to texts: plugging them into Project Gutenberg, Bartlett's Quotations, and various search engines, which lead me to lines from Milton's Paradise Lost, quotations from the Bible, and many other unexpected sources. I allowed those texts to exert their influence over a series of poems much in the same way the closing number of the Dow exerts an influence over our lives. As the project developed, the poems became a record of my days as well as the Dow’s, incorporating travels, the death of friend in a hiking accident, a miscarriage, a readings of Zen texts.

"November 25—The Dow Closes Up 10464" takes the phrase "When in doubt, win the trick,” from Twenty-four Rules for Learners (Bartlett’s Quotation 10464). For "December 16—The Dow Closes Down 10441" I used numerology.