Clifford Saunders

Clifford Saunders.png

Swallowing it Whole


I feel like the dean

who wanders at night

among scholars distinguished

by their emptiness. It’s part

of me, and I accept it.

Behind one door is a tiger.

Behind the other, a ham

sandwich. And on the seventh

day, I swim beneath the surf

like a small fish disrupted

by turtle nesting. Because

I finally know too well

that some beetles spill

their souls into tiny orchids.

I know how a child

can keep a secret, how

inclusive brotherhood can be

when it’s 25 below zero.

I celebrate verbs hard

to master but remain

alert for more trees

aglow with angel hair.

I expect grass sounds,

outhouse explosions,

that sort of thing.

I play happy hour guru

to women, one of silence

and heavenly guilt. I live

for them now: with a ring

of gold in my belly,

with no good options.

Cliff Saunders has an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Arizona. His poems have appeared recently in West Trade Review, Pinyon, Serving House Journal, CURA, Rumble Fish Quarterly, SurVision, and Snow Jewel. He lives in Myrtle Beach, where he serves as co-coordinator of The Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series.