R.L. Swihart

Ari’s Daimon

The first time I decided to bowl a few games on a hot summer’s day
I saw someone I’d caddied for forty years earlier: Glinka, Gluck, Glass.
The second time I saw Ari

I hadn’t seen Ari in ten years and I never would meet Elaine

Ten years earlier I had been subbing in Math at a local high school
and filming birthdays and bar mitzvahs (as Ari once said: Blare Witch
style) to supplement. Now I was subbing in Physics

A crazy turkey was dancing on the screen when I sat down next to Ari.
We ordered drafts. The ceiling was yellow from smoke. Fans
were spinning without effect

Ari talked. I talked. We sipped our beers. Then Ari asked if I’d ever used
a stroboscopic camera. “Turns out I have,” I said. “The kids were learning

I spared, clenched a fist in excitement, then took slow strides back to the table.
“Where will I hide?” I asked. “In the closet,” he said. “And Elaine?” I asked.
“It’s for me,” he said. “She’ll never see the pictures. I’m the one who needs to
feel whole”


I Have a House

This is my house (square, rectangle, round), it was given to me. I knock
and the door opens. I don’t knock and it opens. There are flowers
outside my house. I bring them in. If I question the flowers,
I don’t question the house. I will die in this house

This is not my house (square, rectangle, round), it was given to me. I arrange
things to feel more comfortable. Sometimes I prefer the arrangements
of others. The permutations seem infinite, and yet
the house is empty

I am building my house, I am tearing it down. When I yell fire a few people
run, but there is no fire. In time my house will come to nought.
How much time, how little


Without Lifting a Finger

The gauntlet of underpasses is a humble enough birth: the palm of a hand
cradling a walnut

Between Spearmint Rhino and FORT STORAGE it multiplies: not the walnut
just the hand: the original hand being supported by another hand,
and another hand, ad infinitum

Further along the 10, the henge of skyscrapers steps out of the fog
toward K.

K. exits the spastic carhustle, navigates along surface streets, and parks
near the Casa Vertigo

The squinting sun provides the chalk and he draws a perfect triangle connecting
TWERK MILEY, church window, and doctored knee

Doctored knee: his words (his mirage) for the complex of barriers and tape
guarding a recent archaeological dig beneath the street

Perfect triangle: an example is a right triangle with sides 6, 8, and 10. The area
is 24 and so is the perimeter

Archaeological dig: choking the ability to remember is the ability
to forget

K. steps around an obelisk. Slips under strips of white linen. Scrapes a knee
before he stands

Everything is connected. Nothing. I hold the walnut in my hand

R. L. Swihart currently lives in Long Beach, California, and teaches high school mathematics in Los Angeles. His poems have appeared in various online and print journals, including Bateau, elimae, Rhino, Right Hand Pointing, 1110, and decomP. His first collection of poems, “The Last Man,” was published in 2012 by Desperanto Press.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.