Jeff Schiff


May in the sudden downpour
   May in the grievous freshet
     a virus of fat rain

coursing our spent gutters
   May in fog blown pleurisy
     cough & spittle

my chest tightening
   around visions of kind weather
     May in the wake we hold

for archipelagos of snow
     beneath our north eaves

May in the long wait
   and the long wait rewarded
     May in the sodden curtsy

and the seed drill
   those murmuring surely
     to rakes and hoes

May in the mud
     ever so slightly

and the crawlers
   and the slitherers
     bidding their brethren

heartfelt farewells
   May in the cock robin
     able once again

to pick & choose
     in the hard-assed oak

   of its seasonal ennui
     May in the full bore lilac

a smarmy cologne
   aloft over our neighbor's
     lowcut fence

May in the rose
   May in its stiff sheath
     and waxy gatherings

May in its hungry barb
   a cutting of first teeth
     May in the outreach

and the in-reach
   May in the gardener's
     tortured wince

come now
   yet lingering
     long into merciless July

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 Grand Street, The Ohio Review, Poet & Critic, The Louisville Review, Tendril, Pembroke Magazine, Carolina Review, Chicago Review, Hawaii Review, Southern Humanities Review, River City, Indiana Review, and The Southwest Review. He has taught at Columbia College Chicago since 1987.

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