Herpetology – Jake Sheff

There were problems with the field outside,
Not enough frogs namely. That was on Paloma
Court, the Spanish word for dove or pigeon.

Back then, a neighbor kept some homing pigeons,
Yonah, he called them, as if the name were bankrupt
As a field without frogs, a strange Supreme

Court. Carpentry borrowed the dovetail to fix
Two beams, in no way the figure’s original purpose
Unless you ask the Greek community

Of Peristera, an island too dry to house a population
Of frogs. A field without frogs has no name, but
The opposite is called a plague. Columbo,

Played by Peter Falk, was a detective who shared
A name with doves – a name describing what it did
But the crime, a field without enough frogs,

Was no crime at all to the hato (Japanese
For pigeon) who lived on our street. Pidgin, meanwhile,
Said nothing of ledges not Chinese for business.


Jake Sheff.jpgJake Sheff is a captain and pediatrician in the US Air Force, married with a daughter and three pets. Currently home is California. Poems of Jake’s are in Marathon Literary Review, Jet Fuel Review, Foliate Oak and elsewhere. His chapbook is “Looting Versailles” (Alabaster Leaves Publishing). He considers life an impossible sit-up, but plausible.