2 Poems by Cliff Saunders


Fill your hot tub with eggs and bounce
shoes for your daughter in front of her

to sweeten her tart tongue. Dress your dog
like a tribute to Jackson Pollock.

Look in the mirror, where you stand
knee-deep in bow ties. Look

in the mirror, where you shed
yellow spiders and even caterpillars

with red faces. Is your kitchen moving
north all the time? You bet your life.

Your job is to seize the world
from a small radio, from a can of tuna.

Fear not the alphabet of your sofa.
Let your children sing questions

to family heirlooms, maybe go around
the house naming roads after pirates.

Ignore the howling in your wall
of allegations. Once it’s located, let

the door hit you on the way out,
empowering you with a limp.


The day that pineapples became the symbol
of civility to a circus, I said to her,

“Let’s gather our wits and fill streets
with an antiseptic aftertaste.

Let’s be less alone together.”
First she laughed, then she called me

a tiny asteroid. She was ruthless,
as majestic as marble on a pedestal.

There was no fear in her. I loved her,
and I still do. It wasn’t long ago

that ghosts made her sleep all the time
inside them. She fell through the cracks

of life like rain through ice,
through the glass of an early spring.

Waking in sunlight, her green-dyed
hair was grass! It was a big moment

for her. I took care of her comfort zone,
and she gave me one last bit of at least

eighteen twisters, took my whole heart
into her with no warning. She needed

a moth with her on that August night
before she went blue as a new body,

ear to her heart. The world’s light
turned her into a pink owl of delight.

She sounded like a Thursday night
in late spring when she found this field

echoing with sign language. I depended
on her to hold me between the hedges

in her own wonderland as she bulldozed
my neighborhood straight to my heart.

Cliff Saunders is the author of several poetry chapbooks, including Mapping the Asphalt Meadows (Slipstream Publications) and This Candescent World (Runaway Spoon Press). His poems have appeared recently in Bryant Literary ReviewAtlanta Review, Qwerty, Lullwater Review, Monterey Poetry Review, Blue Unicorn, Common Ground Review, and Tipton Poetry Journal. Originally from Massachusetts, he now lives in Myrtle Beach, SC.