PoetryIssue 07 | November 2009

At a Poetry Reading in the Swiss Alps, Joachim Sartorius Speaks of Tunis

by Jennifer Saunders

Leukerbad. The alter Bahnhof
is no longer in use,
but the walls, white and clean
bear fresh paint.
Outside, clouds stack up
and thunder chugs
like a far-away train
climbing a final run to this station
with its waiting room filled.
You read to us of Tunis
and spread a Stadtplan at our feet.
Blue sky, blue sea, and dunes take over
this narrow mountain valley,
Mediterranean heat warms the station,
stills the thunder and we follow you
through the cities of the east.
The clock stops at twelve.
There are no punctual trains to catch—
just this slow walk through Tunis,
Odessa, Prinkipo.
You turn your last page
and fall silent.
We shift on our plastic chairs.
The thunder breaks.
The rain falls.

About the author

Jennifer Saunders is an American living near Bern, Switzerland, with her Swiss husband and their two Swiss-American sons. Her work has appeared previously in Literary Bohemian as well as in Ibbetson Street Magazine, Literary Mama, Shot Glass Journal, and elsewhere. She currently has heather potted by her front door but is anxiously watching her Swiss neighbors for the first sign of change.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok