Flower garden path

Three Poems by Jeff Schiff

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Praise common

the call to mark to glorify
to lead memory down its garden path
bellflower and flowering spurge and fake boneset
tickseed and foxglove beardtongue
lovegrass tidy tips pussytoes
bedstraw hairy woodmint
heal all
that clasping cornflower
common arrowhead
that nodding onion
that bishop’s cap and bloodroot
those lady’s tresses
Dutchman’s breeches
those mad dog skullcaps
those doll’s eyes jack in the pulpit
bird’s foot
that farewell to spring



Praise cloying

and bearded iris
the scented rivalry of lavender and lilac
fogging our yard
sweet rocket at night
tangy bee balm
jasmine jonquil perfume
and heliotropic valerian
the vanilla of phlox
the cinnamon clove of dianthus
even the chokecherry
funky in its bitter acclaim
best jellied with less demanding fruit



Praise those hovering

ice cleated
over augured holes
jigging with bobbers
rigging tip-ups
in love with Cuban yoyo handlines
mealworm bait  bits of crawler
an eyeball of kept perch
if all else fails
waving off rookies
with tales of disappearance
lethal hypothermia
thick and blue
they say
4 inch ice for a misanthrope
10 for a sled party
15 for those who
insist on a tricked out shack
Goodwill La-Z-Boy
framed picture
of their chilly savior
tacked beside
the corrugated door




Jeff SchiffIn addition to That hum to go by, Jeff Schiff is the author of Mixed Diction, Burro Heart, The Rats of Patzcuaro, The Homily of Infinitude, and Anywhere in this Country. Hundreds of his pieces have appeared internationally over the past four decades in more than a 130 publications, including Poet & Critic, Tampa Review, The Louisville Review, Pembroke Magazine, Southern Humanities Review, ndiana Review, Willow Springs, and The Southwest Review. He has taught at Columbia College Chicago since 1987.

Header photo by symbiot, courtesy Shutterstock.

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