When we’re in the den, they’re in the boidem.
We hear the strains of opera, intermittently, from above;
slippers shuffling near the ceiling, swish
of a housecoat hem through a doorway:
I keep the fancy soaps in the upstairs bathroom,
just in case. Your mother—I called her Ēma too—
never opened a gift of fancy soap. After she passed
we found them all in the wrappings—
stowed in a crystal bowl. Your parents—
they were nearly mine as well—always
folded the Federbett and plumped the pillows
after staying the night. They kept the Old World ways.
They hover sotto voce now, invisibly, like presence.
Elana Wolff is a Toronto-based writer of poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work has most recently appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, The Dalhousie Review, Canadian Literature, The Banyan Review, Eclectica, GRIFFEL, and Sepia. Her collection, Swoon (Guernica Editions), is the winner of the 2020 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry.