You photographed me standing with our tour guide
in Christchurch. A big, imposing man who knew someone
we knew back home. The group was there, Cathedral Square,
the sun on-high behind you, angled well for maximizing
captures. That man had put his arm around my back and he was
holding hard. The sun kept shining blithely and you called to us,
Say cheese. His force was unapparent and I didn’t think to resist.
Let’s take another few, you said, Keep smiling, and I did.
Although the wave beneath my tongue was pushing up
Hey Sweetie treats from lunchtime on the bus.
— You likely don’t recall those shots, so long ago and far away;
you’ve taken thousands since. But what if we would look at me
and see the bile in my smile, that crooked Christchurch moment,
my compliance.

Elana Wolff


Elana Wolff is a Toronto-based writer, editor, translator, and designer and facilitator of social art courses. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Canadian and international publications and have garnered awards. Her most recent collection of poems is Everything Reminds You of Something Else (Guernica Editions 2017).

© 2018