First the forces: gases, heat and radiation;
stars. We are stardust
sing the physicist and bard.

We are quartz and bats and roses,
we are poetry: Rimbaud, Blake, Baudelaire, Bidart.

We’re fugue of Bach and Glass; Celan.
World gets into us every breath.
Yes to every sentence.

I held to the imbecile cord — till it ripped.

When the diagnosis arrived,
we flew to a city of history and art,
visited galleries, stood before works

that made a life seem timeless.
The paintings I looked at longest were the Turner
waterscapes: ships and mists, conflating waves–

wild violets and yellows, flaming greys.
Creaturely chaos. Suns, the seas.
And in my mouth: the froth.


Elana Wolff is a Toronto-based writer of poetry and creative non-fiction, editor, translator, and designer and facilitator of social art courses. Her most recent collection of poems, Everything Reminds You of Something Else, was published with Guernica Editions in 2017.


To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.

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