Negative Space

The sky spreads out in shades of hay:
sky adept at holding everything ruinous,

anything good.
Rockets meeting

missiles from the rooftop Tuesday night;
you called me to report you felt protected.

Only plumes of smoke, you said,
below the dome above your home. By morning

shadow on the peach and loquat ground. Sky

as smooth and mellow as a flugelhorn parade.
If one word only remained, it would have to be space.

From reverie of inner worlds to after
Afterlife—where everything is given to conjecture—

Put your proofs on this.
There’s autumn in the aftertaste

of plums. And in the troughs and companies of color
in this picture. The image

shifts by time of light: at dusk
a tree in negative space;

at dawn its limbs are facets and the company of
color broken up. Yet tree still—archetypal tree—

the brain retains this shape.
I can’t locate, in the files of my mind,

the archetype of you.



Elana Wolff is a Toronto-based writer of poetry and creative nonfiction, editor, and designer and facilitator of social art courses. Her work has appeared in Canadian and international publications and has garnered awards. Most recently her poems have appeared in Grain, The Maynard, The League of Canadian Poets Tree Anthology, Tamaracks Anthology (US), Minerva Rising (US), Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology, Not Very Quiet (Australia), and Vallum. Her fifth collection, Everything Reminds You of Something Else, was released with Guernica Editions in 2017.




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