Holding Pattern by Cliff Saunders


It’s tough to admit, but I can’t stop
baby-talking to the guillotine
in my closet. I can’t stop wearing orange
and clicking like a house in the sun.
I just want to find love, testify
to the power of pedestrian walkways
through the minefields of early death.
No reason for me to be inconclusive,
circus-like in my heart. I belong
to the ice in many lakes, to a coherent
doctrine of lakes. I intend to survive,
but rivers are starting to bite. Healing
the lonely in Magic Valley, I drop
another heart into the pool and open
a void in the middle of the woods
where I make mousetraps glow red-hot. 


I’m in this bus enjoying the ride, awake
and alert as it heads east toward the coast,
as rain falls amid peaceful vigils for true
justice, as relief trickles into train depots.
I’m in this bus and motorists are beyond
my promises of the past. This is where
I am completing a story about black holes
bigger than cruise ships—and it’s all true! 
I see my reflection in a computer screen
and love notes surface, but I’m not that
person anymore. My two cents’ worth: 
the sun is something to build into a valentine.
The news of my death precedes me, as a cold
month ushers in spring. Now I play
the rhythm of modern dance on my cellphone
as death nears like the answer to a screech. 

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 Atlanta Review, Pedestal Magazine, The Aurorean, Pinyon, San Pedro River Review, The Main Street Rag, Phantom Drift, and Neon Garden.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.