Jeff Schiff



Here's the drill sweetthang

            Call me on my

                         or the princesa’s



            when you've collected your

                        equipaje (that's Spanish for


excess already lugged)

            We'll be hovering

                        in the can’t loiter


During said exchange

            you'll let us know from

                        which vestibule


(that's bureaucratic formal for

            simultaneous in & out) you'll be emerging

                        We'll meet you


in the far bolgia (that's

            Dante for where they gather to smoke



We'll be driving a black CR-V

            You'll be wearing a coreopsis

                        pinned to your chignon


and half-waving  Donn'll be

            jiggy in sweet relief

                        Fly friendly



            for you too long

                        The cops are a bitch

Easily Withheld


Do not question the mother

            who tires early


of nursing the wind

            and ushers her offspring


into the lee of a vacant lot

            Do not


question the mother

            who sates herself


encouraging no compromise

            the mother whose accommodations


are thin milk

            and semen from any quarter


dark allotments in dank retreats

            who cannot dote on consolation


whose bewilderment lasts

            ever and ever


occupying both margin

            and text

In addition to That hum to go by (Mammoth books), Jeff Schiff is the author of Mixed Diction, Burro Heart, The Rats of Patzcuaro, The Homily of Infinitude, and Anywhere in this Country. His work has appeared in more than a hundred publications worldwide, including The Alembic, The Cincinnati Review, Grand Street, The Ohio Review, Poet & Critic, Tulane Review, Tampa Review, The Louisville Review, Tendril, Pembroke Magazine, Carolina Review, Chicago Review, Hawaii Review, Southern Humanities Review, River City (The Pinch), Indiana Review, Willow Springs, and The Southwest Review. He is currently serving as the interim dean of the school of graduate studies at Columbia College Chicago, where he has been on faculty since 1987.


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