Three Poems

by R L Swihart


Plato's righteous man is something and the Nostradamus
Code something else

But there is little question that she foresaw the important

And the infinite tunneling of data that will soon connect
Us all

(Push the black cloud away and behold an ocean filled
With light)


And so Phileas Futon settled onto the white inviting Bemis
Followed by himself, himself, himself

A few minutes later he noticed the slanting type on p. 63
But refused to calculate the grade

He moved to the kitchen, started dividing and subdividing
The minutes until the pile of dust read 10:16

Bowled above the fridge, the bananas' yellow exploded
And woke his lover up


The slender threads of Septimus, an accepting moth
And the rocks in her pocket

I leave as further proof

Capture the Flag

On June 2nd they petition the association, obtain a permit
And subsequently spend an entire Saturday under a tired umbrella

Collecting pennies for junk, finally closing shop as an old man
And spry wife shell out three ones for a '56 Betty Crocker

And a '47 scoutmaster handbook


Fast-forward to the 4th of July. They've outsourced the kids
And the raspberry vodka is dry

He smiles and says With or without the handbook, we'd need
To improvise

He agrees to count to 100 beside the towering cottonwood
She agrees to hide

Coming up empty in the yard, garden, orchard and garage
He enters the house

In the bedroom, beneath a green-bannered CERCA TROVA
The probe of a finger

They fight for the flag but neither side wins. Both win.
Bombs bursting in air

Es muss sein

Mountains are too easy. Any flatland would serve
But the steppe is better. Slowly but surely
Grass will overrun the road

A key is planted beneath the mat. Already the stove
Is warm. Creditors won't find you
But mosquitoes will

Blind the window. After you've gathered the light
From the babel of books and thought
Gaze upon the Hunter

Now rise, build your city, burn

R L Swihart currently lives in Long Beach, CA, and teaches high school mathematics in Los Angeles. Some of his more recent credits include Unloved Mail-Order Bride, Ghoti Magazine, Lily, and The Hamilton Stone Review.