What I like about them is the immaterial part. These
feeling beings, much like us, minus the complications
that instigate art. Once as a girl gone lost with my dog
and both of us cold and hungry, I watched my pet—
Petrouchka—eat her feces as if it were beef. She licked
her pink snout sweetly and I couldn’t believe my eyes;
pressed her snowy coat against my chest; we felt our
breath. After that she vanished. I wish her species-love
and never hunger. I’m riding Via Rail, my temple
pressed against the window: snowflakes fine as bridal
lace cascading past the glass, people poised on river ice
like toys in a world vitrine. A man in orange coveralls
beside an odd colossus, a dog as white as mine was
(not exactly). The awful thing, said Fyodor, that beauty
is mysterious. Belleville, Bay of Quinte country, boy
in a green and orange hoodie horsing around a room,
averting the circle—the circle is work. Tears streaming
from his burr-brown eyes, he yanks at my gammy hand.
Parents, siblings, all the beasts that agitate within.
Hammertoes and warts and boils that make us fellow
creatures. Smiths Falls in the reverie, waking up
at Fallowfield, sister on the platform, waiting,
come to pick me up. Tall and wearing winter-white,
gracile as ballet, her avian name. She hated it as a child
and has come to love it. We need these deep reversals
in the immaterial part—mutual to dog and Other and swan.
Elana Wolff is a Toronto-based writer of poetry and creative nonfiction, editor, and designer and instructor of social art courses. Her essays are featured in The New Quarterly, Humber Literary Review, Cargo Literary, Nashwaak Review, and Wanderlust. Her poetry collection, Swoon, is forthcoming in 2020.