jeff schiff

Flower Market

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.

Cricketing

Out of writhing sleep
          and night too hot
                    to bother with love

I wake to find
          the livingroom
                    littered with their near

fixity
          cacophonous sparkplugs
                    petering

on the burnished oak floor
          the last noise brown in their legs
                    & blackening

Miniature bodhisattvas

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.

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