by Cliff Saunders
Yearning for unity, I whistle at the county fair
at just the right time and the hunt begins
for a bridal kimono. I baffle gulls everywhere
with nursery rhymes. It’s what I do.
For the first time, I need to strike a swimsuit
with a biscuit because I feel alienated,
anxious as a blocked artery. Crying and scared,
I thrash like a fish among rows of crash victims.
I bounce past three sisters beating the street
with Christmas trees but see no clouds
just over the horizon. I topple a barricade
of jellyfish and slip by a little robot
ruined by a mud ball. Along the way,
I collide with echoes of immaculateness.
Such snow and ice I have never seen!
I finally feel like I am alive again, soul
of blue and still in love with the wind.
Am I some rabbit hole? Some pumpkin king?
I’m just elated that great hair blooms
in every sea. As clouds gather, I finish
covering roses with metal whistles.
I rise before the storm gives voice
to its grief and reach for the sacred:
a glass of ice clouded by blue acid.
Tonight, a drum has my name on it,
but is anyone listening?
Who inherits a self that never ends?
I, too, have a real dream
infected with tuberculosis.
It hits me when I go home and try
to sleep with stones on my heart.
I see chimney swifts returning
to lighthouses full of fast learners,
full of divers gobbling up turnovers.
Time arrives to harvest its bright spots,
its earthly campus of root, root, root.
A flutist hits the high notes, thanks to me
and my generation of painful goodbyes,
of shirtless young cousins.
I’m not one to let the grass grow
on the moon, especially in the evening.
Moral blinders still in place, I lift my dog
to find his soul wrapped like a piece
of birthday cake on the catwalk.
Better to tolerate clutter than stifle
freedom, it’s as simple as that!
I hate my grass, and it hates me
more than a pink skirt on a witch.
How can I get a deeper shade of blue
in my lawn? I’m just totally lost.
The lizard in the house has created
a conspiracy against me.
The shuddering beast wakes me
with his big mouth while pondering
an afternoon of drift and mastery.
As the lizard lands with a thud
on the floor, I pursue a giant snail
around the edge of the porch,
but my heart is driving me nuts,
and I carve it up into toothpicks.
This is my home — I could turn
into an old putter, an abused
French mastiff, a hard autumn,
a newly opened book.
For a sweet few hours, I probe
the batting cage of the self
with a restless intellect, then
ride off into the real world
on a bicycle wrapped in mink.
Just doing my job, man.
Cliff Saunders has an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Arizona. His poems have appeared recently in Serving House Journal, Five 2 One, The Big Windows Review, Rumble Fish Quarterly, and Whale Road Review. He lives in Myrtle Beach, where he works as a freelance writer.