teaches itself to shuck snap peas
     and destem strawberries
          single handedly


keeps cruising the Jewish cemetery
     hoping to find
          the grave of its founding rabbi Haim Pinto


one wandering Hebrew conjuring another
     cranes its neck at laundry drying on lines
          strung from azure shutters


in the you’ve been warned ad nauseam
     just beyond the bus depot
          backed up to the sea


forbidden zone
     stops to consider
          why a gull the size of


holy mother of fill-in-the-blank
     would decide to stand atop a
          that’s how large you’d imagine


they are
     almost half its size one
          on the roof of the decorative ceramic depot


stops in currency shops
     to note the fluctuation of the Moroccan dirham
          against the Chinese yuan and Thai baht


even though it traffics in dollars
     lingers to watch those buying
          and nibbling


lassoes of strung donuts
     fresh from their fatty bath
          and shower of talcy sugar

About the Author

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 publications worldwide, including The Alembic, The Cincinnati Review, Grand Street, The Ohio Review, Poet & Critic, Tulane Review, Tampa Review, The Louisville Review, Tendril, Pembroke Magazine, Carolina Review, Chicago Review, Hawaii Review, Southern Humanities Review, River City (The Pinch), Indiana Review, Willow Springs, and The Southwest Review. He is currently serving as the interim dean of the school of graduate studies at Columbia College Chicago, where he has been on faculty since 1987.