The Tao of Dow
In the busiest day in New York Stock Exchange history, panicky investors dumped stocks en masse. . . . ‘There is a downward spiral of fear,’ said Richard Sparks, senior equities analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research.”
The New York Times

You want to know where to find it,
want to hold it in your hands, this thing.

Want to name it, tack it to a board,
scrutinize it under bright lights. Don’t turn here

for answers; ask the mad friar on the corner
waving his cup of pins. All you’ll get is riddles

and mist, myth and wriggling. Ask the dog
streaming fleas about actual value versus

notional value. Indeed, why not ask the asphalt,
salt cellar, slate pavers, the papers rolled

in a whorl in the bin by the door, growing brittle,
showing yellow, hour by hour. I promise you,

you’ll get no better answer than colorless,
odorless, invisible, intangible, yet strong enough

to hobble nations, topple notions. Break you, even,
if you let it. Watch it soar and crash, Icarus in indices

plummeting from an indigo sky. Think about
that butterfly in Beijing, that hurricane in the Atlantic.

Believe that the pattern is nothing
but noise, the beautiful ordered disarray

of fractals, fern frond, snowflake, river. Hold this.
This round stone, its halves coarse in each palm.

Run your thumb across the brilliant colored bands.
Feel the crystals, rough as a row of teeth.

Imagine that the world is a geode. Imagine
that in cracking open, it reveals its beauty.

Ingrid Steblea's poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Poem, The Seattle Review, and Rattle. She was the featured poet in the December 2008 edition of ouroboros review, and her poem, “Bess Houdini Contemplates Her Marriage, 1921,” won the first prize in the 2008 Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest. Visit her at (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761