I was paddling 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.























I was paddling






as I’m wont

       under a peek-a-boo sun



by dragon and damselflies

       in the wake of barge wash

              I was windblown


coursing the west side bank

       quashing bow bobs



through strewn annoyance

       & local lore

              past Stroud’s weekend rumpus


Stevie screech & daddy yawp

       I was weaving past Demink’s

              where nightly poker


bangs into flapjack breakfasts

       I was beeline

              humming it


catch   propel   recover

       pulsing shirtless

              leaning into fishy fug


and lake spray

       into sinew and engorged biceps

              and all manner of stroking hard



Jeff Schiff



Notes from the Black Walnut Kingdom by Jeff Schiff