The Small Country

We are pleased to announce that of course
we follow the sun into its sea of remembrance.

These days, we scale the depths of our presidents’
gardens but not our neighborhoods. Look how far

we’ve wandered off while violent playthings grow.
We are a small country with upside-down trees.

All in all, we have achieved nothing but sparks
flying between two foxes stealing newspapers.

Our flag is no door to the dancing winds of war.
Maybe we should listen to the scrutiny of constables.

We should bury the clouds when we’re together,
glad to be pain-free. We should all become books

full of love and left to their ghosts. Here’s to all of us,
the books that are truly castles. We’re not bystanders

but asteroids finally coming home. Hey, we may have
a rough time for a while keeping people from eating

their own words like honey, but we can keep hoping.
We know the story of being alone, situation still unknown.

We love to see our brave new world looking back,
our dog in diapers preparing for a total solar eclipse.

We love to forgive green crystals their gray hair.
Side by side, we love playing songs that honor us

on the river of our eyes. We remember one last tune
alone in French before the sea hears our footsteps.

So much for keeping secrets. Still, we do nothing
to determine if time’s the charm that saves us

from ourselves. We have lost our way in this zone
of puppeteers. Where do we go from here? Our fight

starts in dark streets where it belongs, left in hot cars
and unlocking the wild thing in our faces.





saundersCliff Saunders has an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Arizona. His poems have appeared in over 150 literary journals, most recently West Trade Review, Pinyon, The Ibis Head Review, CURA, San Pedro River Review, North of Oxford, and Cardinal Sins. He lives in Myrtle Beach, where he serves as co-coordinator of The Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series.