by Elana Wolff
I spend entire walks gazing at greens. I have this vague sensation that I lived in them long ago—
the way a sentence, as Emerson said, was once an animal. What did he mean? Fish, lizard, bird,
beast? Motley? Multicolored? Sassgoní—in Hebrew. A word I’ve always loved. Because it’s
spring, the blooming is resplendent; scents that take your breath. Mock orange, the strongest,
reminds me of the poem by Glück.
I raise my gaze to the tiger’s claw—the Indian coral tree, a parrot with its beak in a
brilliant bloom. So focused in that heady red, it doesn’t notice this woman below, her beckoning
falsetto. True life is beyond song, she hears herself pipe up, craning a tenuous neck. Then sits on
a bench to rest, thinks of her mother, oceans away, the story of the gull that crashed—into a
power transformer, causing a bang that rocked the block. How does a gull lose track like that?
I never grow weary of gazing at trees. The cypresses across the street, the fig and honey
locust, the neem. Imaginary scent of fennel, ataraxic as grass. The breeze is playing ball with the
dust, a tumbleweed-like motion. My spot on the bench is altered by this, though I remain where I
was. Probably I won’t go home without some gift of nature docked in my pocket—a rock, a pod,
a strip of bark. If only to let them go. We’re all just passing through here, on our circuits, exchanging traces.
Elana Wolff lives and works in Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, on the traditional lands of Huron-Wendat and the Haudenosaunee First Nations. Her writing has most recently appeared (or will appear) in Bear Review, Best Canadian Poetry 2021, Canadian Literature, The Dalhousie Review, Grain, Montréal Serai, Sepia, Taddle Creek Magazine, The Maynard, Verse-Virtual, and White Wall Review. Her newest poetry collection is Shape Taking (Ekstasis Editions, 2021).