Clifford Saunders

Wish upon a Road

What sun can the wind spread through air?
Whose forests change the world? O field

of night where fire always seems to win,
the same road will bring us closer to our star.

The end of life turns the mood ring black,
and giving everything away completes a circle.

What’s returning? The rewarding buzz of tree and river.
When does it stop? When the snow goes dark.

Up in the sky, dreams advance at full gallop.
Would that they could soon rise over the green road.


Trinity at Christmas


Desperate for a martyr,
a Christmas tree stands
alone in an old house.
It is, after all, just a long,
green goodbye, and its arms
are wide enough to hold
the center of a renaissance.


Candles glimmer before
a small crowd ringing bells
outside a fire station.
So goes the neighborhood
on a Christmas Eve when
the boss isn’t around
and the serenity of others
dares you to name it.


Snow falls, and with it
the chemical basis of love.
All hail the snow, the descent
of memories that lies
beneath our feet like
a country without an anthem.


Failing to Cover All the Holes

While looking for the wildest place
to see gusty winds, I found a red snail

drinking water alone at the top of a cloud.
It looked like an ode to middle-aged joy.

Never did I believe such things were plunging
into the world, and even sadder, I kept

boosting my signal to the gates of Hell.
I felt a kindred spirit in the twilight, peaking

at the perfect time. I got high and never
lost faith in the missing pieces of life.

I came. I soared. I stuck a finger or two
into the brain of nature. I secretly ran ahead

of swift wildfires. I got to brush the horses
and even lost my command of kneeling.

I knew in my heart that I should cover
almost everything in horseshoe crabs.

Words made me brave in my blood,
but my black holes were too powerful.


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 The Midwest Quarterly, Pomona Valley Review, Nine Mile Magazine, Monterey Poetry Review, New Feathers Anthology, and The Flatbush Review.