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Elana Wolff


A junco came to the window today 

                                               I’m trying to think 


like a bird. Bird brain  

gets a bad rap. That’s bigism for you. Think little, 


think syllable: If any word can follow this one,

 any reality can. Breeze, breath, tread of a bear 


in the yard. 

It’s easy to mistake forbearance 


for fear. 

Bear for bird. 


Both use claws like fingers 

for a wide 


array of tasks. And kiss, call, sing, summon, 

warn. They may even grieve. Like us. 


Hull fruit, skin fish, dig. Are pugilistic. Fighters 

if they need to be. 


Is that a hint of ozone in the hallway? 

You thought the bear 


was so far off, 

we couldn’t possibly 


sense a tread, hear or see him nearing. 

That smell is our leavened breath. 


We’re so focused on what we don’t see, we almost 

feel feet in the garden, furry 


forearms, flutter in the pine. Almost 

see a bear between us;

                                   a beak.

Elana Wolff_headshot_March_2021 - Elana Wolff.jpg


Elana Wolff lives and works in Toronto. Her poems and nonfiction pieces have been widely published in Canada and internationally—recently in Best Canadian Poetry 2021, Canadian Literature, Contemporary Verse 2, Eclectica, Grain, Literary Review of Canada, Montréal Serai, Prairie Fire, Sepia, Waterwheel Review and White Wall Review. Her collection Swoon received the 2020 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry. Her Kafka-quest work, Faithfully Seeking Franz, is forthcoming with Guernica Editions in 2023.

Bear Review


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