Cliff Saunders

Revelations III, A Complication or Two: Cliff Saunders


After years of inattention,
a sacred space will save us
from vultures cracking down
on night. We’ll see turtles
with less-distracting lights

on their backs, and we will
no longer silence the transition
from solace to grieving.
We will not be afraid
when riding on sea lions,

we will not hide from the sky.
We’ll be ready for peach trees
on Halloween when they
won’t let go of our dreams
and for a city made whole

by bobcats tracked with
satellite tags. We’ll make
fires collapse in our age
of superstition so we
can get back to normal.

From the treetops we’ll see
names of priests preserved
in footprints. We’ll lose
some doors coming through spring,
but we must keep our freedom

from devolving into nostalgia.
Only the shadow of the beaver
will plague us. The old man
of the water will be the one to save us
from the precipice of March.


Each Thanksgiving, I look for
skeletons in motels, but feeling
covered in dirt, I panic and run.

It’s none of my spiritual business
because I know what haunts
the cicadas of absenteeism.

It’s complicated. And yes,
I’m wearing a burlap diary
around my neck, an empty one

that’s irksome to itself. This
is my dream. This might be
my time for crying parents,

crying because children can’t
find their heart’s content.
I’m a bridge that reconnects

to its knees after being hit
by a storm. I’m a land keeping
secrets from its national anthem.

I hold my head in my hands
and mourn the new cradle
laid to rest at Arlington.

Cliff Saunders is the author of several poetry chapbooks, including Mapping the Asphalt Meadows (Slipstream Publications) and The Persistence of Desire (Kindred Spirit Press). His poems have appeared recently in I-70 Review, Orchards Poetry Journal, Hidden Peak Review, Cacti Fur, and The Heartland Review.