A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

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Avram by Jeff Schiff


He knows

         in the sooty caverns below Liege

                 for some the world delivers


an aria of fresh bread—

         first coarse salt of course

                 and yes charred caraway


but then a glutinous comfort

         Damn if any

                 stubborn bituminous


or unruly foreman

         should stand in the way

                 A Polish Jew


he had always wondered

         what it was like

                 to crack the vicious crust


and find a forgiving center

         Now in the Belgian mines

                 having digested his many dinner loaves


and yeasty influenzas

         he can only hope

                 hard labor will suffice


his toothy smile already filled

         with the dust

                 of million-year-old coal

Jeff Schiff

Jeff Schiff is the author of That hum to go by (MAMMOTH books, 2012), Mixed Diction (MAMMOTH books, 2009), Burro Heart (MAMMOTH books, 2004), Rats of Patzcuaro (Poetry Link, 2003), The Homily of Infinitude (Pennsylvania English, 1999), and Anywhere in this Country (MAMMOTH Press, 1981). Hundreds of his poems, essays, and photographs have appeared in more than a hundred and fifty publications worldwide, including The Alembic, Bellingham Review, Cincinnati Review, Grand Street, Ohio Review, Poet & Critic, Tulane Review, Tampa Review, Louisville Review, Tendril, Pembroke Magazine, Carolina Review, Chicago Review, Hawaii Review, Southern Humanities Review, River City, Indiana Review, Willow Springs, and Southwest Review. He has been a member of the faculty at Columbia College Chicago since 1987.


Jeff Schiff