Susan Briante

ALL SWAN WE ARE

Texas rangers explode in lilac the color of nothing in my house. Mesquite

trees bleed, arch of burnt bark, a plea for rain, an insult thrown down the 

wash where a car stalled yesterday and a woman drowned. Some 

accident, 

 

we are. All swan without flight. All particle, a shuffling engine, running 

like quails in our neighborhood back forth across the road. One deviation,

 

we are. Death maps us like a weather system. One push and the mind 

thrashes toward form, looks for fingerprint, cause, red crest on the 

woodpecker’s head. Who knows what grows after? Here the Mexican Bird 

of Paradise blooms. 

 

Show me the place where the dead go. Spinning a globe, my daughter 

asks. With the angels, she says. Can we visit them? In the glistening 

cosmos, 

 

stars go out

 

into the tricked out now

 

we are such and mean nothing. Inside the adobe bricks of our home, 

messages make their way through wire. A reading lamp hums on a timer 

above my daughter and me. All night moths rattle from the paradise tree. 

No need to make it song.

 

SUSAN BRIANTE is the author of two books of poetry: Utopia Minus (2011) and Pioneers in the Study of Motion  (2007).  Her collection of poems, The Market Wonders, will be published by Ahsahta Press in 2016. Briante teaches creative writing at the University of Arizona.