Lauren Schiffman

2 Poems


The big black and bronze spiders
are back. The sensitive ants
have returned. Their twisted bodies
litter the kitchen tile.

A commercial for bug spray
says, "It's ant and spider season
again." It surprises me. I think,
"Right, it's ant and spider season."

The hills are yellow.
The blue gum trees smell sweet.
Sparks are practically flying
off the stiff, rustling grass.

It's also fire season.
The canyon has this
reoccurring dream,
choking with smoke.


He is before me.
He is after.

My childhood is gone.
I am grateful.

I'm trying this statement on for size.

Winter mornings
blacker than midnight
with a burnt-out synapse.

He says, I don't want to remember
the specifics, just to have a sense
of an overall landscape.

People performed small kind acts,
made statements. Subtle gestures
denoted a huge vocabulary.
Two hands clasped.

Shit went down, and vomit
stained the walls.

I offer him
a busy mouth but closed eyes,
a blurry pantomime archive.

Lauren Schiffman works as a freelance writer and editor in Berkeley, California. She recently edited a poetry anthology titled "hinge: A BOAS Anthology." In her spare time, she sings show tunes with the Berkeley Broadway Singers.