Three Poems by Hayden Saunier

Song for a Suburban Mid-Life Crisis

Four bedrooms, two baths.
Out front, a weeping cherry tree

and underneath each sink, a panoply
of poisons scented to the fantasy

of spotless linen hanging
sundried in an ocean breeze.

Don’t get me wrong,
I live here too.

When I stand before an oval mirror
pulling tight the skin

above my ears to give myself
a temporary facelift,

I watch my mouth lose
years of disappointment—

even though I can’t remember
what it was I wanted.


Weeding After an Argument

Neither of us

Instead, we grip
living things

by their crowns,
rip their roots

out of the ground.


These Mornings When

I’ve dreamed so much
my whole heart beats
against the drumskin
of my body as though
a makeshift jazz
band has been jamming
all night long inside me
and the tenor sax and bass
have only just now
tucked their instruments
into the crushed velvet
insides of hard cases
and are riding the trains
home, tired, happy,
imaginary money
jingling in their pockets,
while the percussionist
taps out the last hi-hat
vibrations of a dream
into the turning world,
filling it with that buzz
of having played well
all night, for each other,
even when there was no one
to listen, no one to applaud,
no one to throw a single
shiny coin into the hat.


Hayden Saunier is the author of five books of poetry; her most recent is A Cartography of Home (Terrapin: 2021). Her work has been published in 32 Poems, Beloit Poetry Journal, Bracken, Pedestal, Thrush, and Virginia Quarterly Review, featured on The Writers Almanac, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and has been awarded the Pablo Neruda Prize and the Rattle Poetry Prize, among others. She is the founder/director of the interactive poetry reading, No River Twice. @Hayden_Saunier

2 thoughts on “Three Poems by Hayden Saunier

  1. Oh I especially love this last poem–such a glorious expression of full-body joy! Not easy to write a poem that expresses happiness so beautifully, that feels so relevant, urgent even. Wonderful!

  2. The specificity of her images–wow! And then the way the endings of her poems punch–I mean, both turn the poem in a surprising way, yet also bring resolution. That first poem–the weeping cherry and scented poisons–the oval mirror and disappointments–what an original encapsulation of the myth of suburban bliss. Love it.

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