Once upon a time, there was a story that took 2,000 years to create. It was a beautiful snail that gave life to the imagination. No doubt, it was about slaves eating gills to survive. No doubt, it was about the fruit of ancient Pompeii. Was that a brown map on its back or a big moth? It was the best kiss, it was an act of devotion, and why was it there? Because the doll of stone bled water and killed a dream, too. There’s more to this story than an apple staring at its own end. It began as a parade and ended in flames on the tidal flats. Yes, it was a long,hot, lonely road into the forbidden town of amputees. It just moved by its own force up a children’s book like a glove. Pulling the whole story together was a top-secret balloon full of Olympians. It blew my mind, listening to them sing of the animals that stand like granite in the rolling hills. Throwing bread on the water, I expected such a lonely word to outshine the sun, but the truth of the story made me cry with its street of vibrating strings. I thought it was forever a frontier so weird it was otherworldly. I wanted to write a story of chess, to utter light and taste no hint of time. It was my idea to have one last moment upon a time when the door of spring found itself in the twilight. Once upon a time, when the world was a tornado of words chugging back to life.
Cliff Saunders has an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Arizona. His poems have appeared recently in Serving House Journal, Five 2 One, Avatar Review, Rumble Fish Quarterly, and Whale Road Review. He lives in Myrtle Beach, where he works as a freelance writer.