Étude for Four Hands

Summer, 2001 / No. 5

The wicker hen is in fact ceramic. The anatomically

faithful

small-mouthed

bass is made from a thousand nails, hand-

hammered into oak.

Its tail and fins are copper leaf. Pino, pictured

propped in a sled,

is a female English

bull terrier

with an Italian masculine name. (Whoops)

Now she’s old, but when she was spry,

she dive-

bombed me

from the staircase, took a mouthful out of my glove

and ran; her teeth never touched my hand.

None of the ivy climbing the primary-

coloured walls

of the family room (and hung by hooks to the cornice)

is silk.

And none of the paintings C. S. painted, prior to ’41

in France,

hinted at all at her later radical opus.

The passion flower opens quickly to stay exquisite

for half a day.

Its coarse and artless hand-like leaves,

on the other hand,

grow rampant.

Elana Wolff is a writer, editor, translator, and designer and facilitator of social art courses. Her latest poetry collection, Swoon, won the 2020 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for poetry. She has contributed to the magazine since 2000. Last updated winter, 2020–2021.