My wife is all uvular trill & mouthed translation at her mirror today dreading
the ¿Qué van a llevar? What will you carry off? Stems Señora or blousy fronds? Or
will you need buds that fist through your night?
Iris are simple & sure and line all the stalls where gesture will suffice But there
are astromerias to buy & mottled violet & off-pink ranunculus and heliotropic authurium
all Latinate and polysyllabic and looming to thwart an easy bloom on any tongue.
Out of writhing sleep
and night too hot
to bother with love
I wake to find
littered with their near
on the burnished oak floor
the last noise brown in their legs
I’ll let them practice
their shallow death
in any pattern
along the baseboard
now a housefly
landing to peck a thorax
and now a cat
taking his finest wristshot
into an empty goal
Jeff Schiff is author of Anywhere in this Country (Mammoth Press), The Homily of Infinitude (Pennsylvania Review Press), The Rats of Patzcuaro (Poetry Link), Resources for Writing About Literature (HarperCollins), and Burro Heart (Mammoth Press). His work has appeared internationally in more than seventy periodicals, including The Ohio Review, Tendril, Chicago Review, River City, and The Southwest Review. He has taught at Columbia College Chicago since 1987.