PoetryIssue 03 | February 2009

The Fortress

by RL Swihart

They were happy in Lübeck.  They crossed out every fifth day and repeated the others twice.  Instead of an onion he’d peel an orange and she’d sit and listen.  Instead of a fish she’d hold up an eel or boletus and they’d end by making love. 

She’d gather and wash the stones then he’d etch the Tor or lions into the stones’ flat faces and place them in the window for sale.  The stones piled up, eyes shined and hands fumbled, but the door never opened.

Orange, eel, boletus.  Stones piling up. Within a year—by whose measure—even sunlight failed to find an entrance.  Mortar was the last step before they disappeared.

About the author

R L Swihart loves travelling: A circuitous journey from Amsterdam to Poland and back again has just given him a few new beads on his I’ve-been-there bracelet: Aachen, Dresden, Wroclaw, etc. Recent publications include Avatar Review, Burningword Literary Journal, and Rain Magazine.

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