Cliff Saunders

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, The Wineskin, Monterey Poetry Review, New Feathers Anthology, and The Flatbush Review


I think of love, how it should be drowned like a spider in a drop of water.

– – Maria Flook


On dark nights love beckons
from its web of silence

with eyes open to the world.
It looks like a control freak,

a furry grim reaper
with a taste for insects.

Spinning with the wind,
it knows how to swoop

over mailboxes with a silky
feel, a priest that can’t be

ignored. You name it Ballet
Dancer, Mythological Witch.

Under your nose it keeps
casting its net of predation.

Now love waits by a bridge
for a little rain to fall on its web.

The spider needs that water
to heal its fangs or it becomes

a sad reminder of love
in the belly of a drop.



Herman, the test-tube stud who feels
no pain, should be denied his delusions
of martyrdom. When he talks, eggs wobble.


Keeping it simple, Cathy lives in a lighthouse 
full of red sea turtles. She loves it. She whips
a victory cigar at the front door and shrugs.


Wearing a mask of light, Barry unleashes
a life of transparency but does nothing to keep
the canary from opening its plastic house.


Wanda frequents an ice-skating rink for professional
clowns. In her English class, she wants to know what
isn’t broken. She’s in love with the meaning of trees.


Oscar feels lonely and frustrated. He’s hung
like a horse but hungers to dance across the cosmos
until it hurts. He’s a rag in the pocket of connectivity.


Anna’s hummingbird, weird and riveting as it nears
her sled, has never been more relevant. To save money,
Anna plans to burn her father’s anger in the garbage.


Six typing monkeys make a mess as Michael
approaches the pine tree of unconditional love.
Soon he will pursue the small point of no return.


A rainbow slowly takes
root in the grass.
O machete of color!
O exotic bird dodging

a sun blind to irony!
Like the world it digs into,
the rainbow wrestles with
death and the urgency of life.

It’s definitely harboring
pain, severely disappointed
and frustrated by a rain
changing from red to green.

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