Cliff Saunders

Issue No. 19 • Spring 2018


Someday we’ll all rise from the shadows
like the wind at the center of a storm.
Deep in the woods, there’ll be songs
of the sea, if only we’ll listen to blackberries
licking their wounds. We’ll see red kites
high in the sky, and we’ll cry if the graves
continue to taunt one another all year long.
We’ll forever be the tiny marsupials
that fool the eye, that perplex emergency crews
kicking a bulkhead door under a spotlight.

Thankfully, love will come again, red lips fiery,
and it will change into tasty possibilities.
We’ll stop at nothing to light the sky
in our hearts! The sun will come out
for some lucky little girl behind a hotel desk,
and we’ll talk like parrots bracing
for an extra wild sea. Too soon,
thunder will roll along rivers of stained glass.
There’ll be no lull, and it won’t be dull
imitating the very fakery of reality.

Soon we’ll see spots ahead of us, coated
in two shades of blue. Not surprisingly, horses
will bow a little to the enemy within.
We shall be as a city upon a hill
that builds its beloved cliches to shine!
As a city upon a hill, we will never forget
the boulevard of bourgeois virtue.
We’ll unwrinkle our colorful maps
of compassion and be pleasantly surprised
by their hum. There’ll be some journey

of love, perhaps a thunderstorm heading
into the sea.  For sure, there will be fire
in the cock of a loving husband, the sun
will become a ring of mist before taking root
in an Irish monastery. Do not doubt that
we will make fine dark energy, ghostly
or otherwise. We’ll find bees to defy!
A wise child will believe that a poor boy
can grow up to be the very essence of touch,
of a seduction as big as the Montana sky.

In a cornfield, frogs will be powdered by snow
and will bring greetings from the afterlife.
Some will blink before a row of barricades
like a queen on her 90th birthday.
We’ll feel the effects of a glorious altar
half a world away, feel the wrath of God
under every seat in an octagon house.
There’ll be fireworks over the evil
we have done! One by one, we’ll walk
on a TV street while picking pumpkins

from the shadows of rooftop missiles.
Flames will dance beyond the faithful
on this field of silver coins, around some
who will forever hear their rage
and bitterness ringing in their ears.
We’ll publish poems that will last
until a stone feels the pain of a broken heart.
Only shame will stop the Moluccan cockatoo
from flying over a sanctuary for stargazers.
Only one yellow bag full of happy rhetoric

will make the angels smile! An evil seed
will grow in the dark like an umbrella,
like another false start. There’ll be no
road for some of us who’ll want to dance
around coral snakes as an art form.
Nevertheless, the dancing will thrive
between lavender posts on a northern pier,
and in the evening, a little sax will make
barrels of winter easy to find under the stars.
The snowmen will tell us where to bury

the wages of sin, but we‘ll never change.
Cherry blossoms will teach us
that grief becomes the crawling fire
that transcends all the stars. We’ll drink
heartily to its long-neglected greenery,
its stash of gold bars. Why the hell not?
Will we be fooled again by the sea’s
gentle pull on a school bus? But of course!
Will the center ever hold? Of course,
of course!--for one will come to all of us.