Notes from the Black Walnut Kingdom by Jeff Schiff


Jeff Schiff is the author of That hum to go by (Mammoth Books, 2012), Mixed Diction, Burro Heart, The Rats of Patzcuaro, The Homily of Infinitude, and Anywhere in this Country. His work has appeared internationally in more than eighty periodicals, including The Alembic, 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, Willow Springs,and The Southwest Review. He has been a professor in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago since 1987. 




























Notes from the Black Walnut Kingdom







No vintage shellers required

        no tool and die rigs

               no carbide drill bits


nor boards with husk-sized holes

        through which to pound

                 your mottled stash


no Buick to back and forth

         across the windfalls

                   mounding the driveway


A 24 ouncer works best

         if you have one

                     Square on


nothing practiced

         a framing hammer



from the shoulder

          whack & shuck

                      a five gallon utility pail


Good riddance scavenger radicals

          Buongiorno black walnut biscotti

                      Bienvenue nutmeat pâté—


Welcome the oily stigma

           of jipped chipmunks

                       & outwitted coons

Jeff Schiff