Baptism of Sorts by Cliff Saunders



Baptism of Sorts

All day, one question buzzed:
Why did the glass slipper
of pain take so long to correct?
It took too long but only
in the physical sense
of passing secrets. When
rain did come, it sounded
like Mozart and felt
like a war zone about
to become a baptism of sorts.
What went wrong with the facts?
‘Twas the instant roosters were
stunned by late-season snow,
and the Ferris wheel by the sea
got harder to find. From treehouses
ants wept, employees were
told to destroy their wallets.
Assertive but untested, I had
to protect the magic form
of a literary triceratops
from Gilded Age cuisine.
I leaked nothing but light
and a flake of sweetgrass.
I was a man without
a turtle ambulance or a cloud
losing its lust. Seduced
and betrayed by dark thoughts,
I made a mist descend
upon the beach like a losing streak.
It was a great day for trying
to sneak into a fortress of love,
it was also the day the music
in a roller rink sounded just
like a nervous breakdown.
I started talking to cars!
It was a summer of negotiations
between opposing hummingbirds
and windshields. I tried to sound
like a great sea, but the power
of love broke my heart, shattering
expectations. The cameras died;
only one of them melted.
I got off easy when the luggage
of choirboys swamped me
with grief. Healed and flying
high, my pain vanished
into the sunset like a late friend’s
shadow, difficult to escape.



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

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