Jeff Schiff

Doing Laundry in North Africa

The seagulls
       have their own notions of clean
             marking flight

across Mogador
         undies and stout socks
                  quick dry travel pants

cotton tees
         dangling from rooftop lines

spared only
         by a flapping bombardier
                  or stern Atlantic wind

In a Pinch

Dummied on the rocks
         honkers mallards
                  pitch-challenged Canadian emigres

Let anyone rifle a pocket
         a brown lunch bag
                  and they’re off

snap into the manmade pond
         knee deep on soggy days
                  center island

wrought iron retainer
         faun milling
                  and penned peacocks

petting hours posted
         Never have I crossed South Street
                  greased boots

         adamantly barefoot
                  without tipping them off

Park ducks are suckers for store bought
         They do mottled rye n’est-ce pas
                  bits of tinned whatever

week-old grits
         fridge saved forget-me-nots
                  or churlish discards

Aspiring purists
         they fall in a pinch
                  for any savory largess

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 and thirty publications worldwide. He is currently serving as the interim dean of the school of graduate studies at Columbia College Chicago.

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