Where it came to pass
that I arrived one night
in the country
of the dispossessed
in the company
of the dispossessed
myself long dispossessed
and found fisherman
flaying an inland sea
with cedar bats
and eucalyptus whips
their nets blazing
roughed carp
and what green was
in the absence
of salient light
certainly entrails
or sedge
Where it came to pass
that I held
beneath a gospel sky
drank bitter tea
and bore witness
to the sheaves
of the millennium
bound high
in the distant Golan
Where it came to pass
that I learned
I could be anywhere
framed by sweet waters
the bank's edge
a plank raft riding
the River Jordan
or not afloat at all
but landlocked and lost
in a parched dream

About the Poet

In addition to That hum to go by (Mammoth books, 2012), Jeff Schiff is the author of Mixed Diction, Burro Heart, The Rats of Patzcuaro, The Homily of Infinitude, Anywhere in this Country, and Resources for Writing About Literature. 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 member of the English faculty at Columbia College Chicago since 1987.