Says he wants to go dark soon,
to go dark as the edge of two cities.
Says he’s had enough of circus sideshows.
Says he’d defy history in the heat
of a new galaxy forming over his head,
over his dream girl, over his manuscript
of a sweet, sad life. He’s a good guy,
which is too bad for foggy windows.
Says he has feathers on both his faces.
Says he smells like living rock.
Says he feels good and intends to return
to the power of words that sing
like lightning over a thankful town.
All he wants is a small piece of the wall
that never begins. Says he has no ape
in a game room. Says he’ll be brief,
totally sincere. Says he’ll be cranberry
lizard or burgundy frog. It’s on his radar.
Says he is psychologist of the air,
director of lying, word-swallower
who once had 124 telephones.
Says he’ll stay on his bike where his heart
sneezes (and everybody catches a cold),
where he’ll sign a thing or two
on his kneecap. Signals he’s ready for
a university gate to bleed all over his hands.
I wish you had beckoned
one day from the edge
of a cove where, this summer,
X did not mark the spot.
I wish you could be
a lighthouse caretaker,
a connoisseur of weeds.
I want to change how chaos
arrives like a breath
of fresh air into your garden
of daffodils and seashells.
I’m desperate for you to tell
an owl how it belongs
to a familiar perch
in a false prophet’s story.
I’m waiting for you to cross
the covered bridge of
your spirit and become
the river that feeds you.
Peering from behind the
all-seeing eye of the sun
at majestic horses buffeted
by storm clouds, I welcome
the challenge of getting you
to stand between a spoonful
of perspective and a cloud
of dust. Go ahead, kiss my ass
if you can’t be a wicked spin
on a bicycle. Go ahead,
investigate me for my friend
the short list. Open me like
hair over a bleeding cross.
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, Book of Matches, Stone Poetry Quarterly, Monterey Poetry Review, New Feathers Anthology, and The Flatbush Review.