Saturday, March 6, 2021

Two Poems, by Elana Wolff

 

Calf Love

                 —after FK


You were lying

supine in the river. Held by the fevered

stream of breaking through.

You who were always

grieved by the deep

embarrassment

of human existence,

found exhilaration in display:

to write about ejaculation in traffic;

traffic over the river

drowning you out.

As if by word association,

one achieves release. As if—

but then it’s done.

Under the bridge and out of sight,

you have to choose:
                              Do I sink?

Instinctually, you swim.

Yet only between the lines,

and after the story ends.

 

 

Jejune

 

This tongue was never altogether mine.
I dreamt a guttural country,
desert mountains at the heart
and woke up parched. 
I put my ear to earth
for an indication,
heard a soundtrack—every song I knew
I had to learn: how losing isn’t opposite
to winning,

                      it’s making space.
One only sees the space
in looking back.  

You were every hydrant that July
I was on fire. Heat inside me
adolescent / green.
What did you see?
That value would eventually
increase? That one day
we would face the parent range?

                         (I speak of mountains.)
That language needs decoding
and translation (whatever we speak)? 

Where do dragons live?
                               —In castles.
What do foxes eat?
                                  —Gingerbread men.
What’s as soft as a preemie’s wrinkled knee?

           —The smaller wrinkled knee
                         of the tinier twin.  

Jackals howled in the street last night,
beneath the babies’ window.
Creatures tempted   
out of the woods,
into the heart of the city. 
I heard them eating off their knives,
licking the blades
as if they were lips—

                      like preternatural humans.
I ran to grab the babies from their cribs.

 

 

 

Elana Wolff is a Toronto-based writer of poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work has recently appeared (or will appear) in Canadian Literature, The Dalhousie Review, Taddle Creek Magazine, Vallum: Contemporary Poetry, The Banyan Review, Eclectica, GRIFFEL, and Sepia. Her collection, Swoon (Guernica Editions), is the winner of the 2020 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry.

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