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3 poems by Karen Enns


Massive, moss-covered firs lie across the forest floor

as if they have fallen here lightly,

made hardly a sound going down,

hardly a sound as they landed.

In the open space beyond their grounded canopies,

absence, you could say unwooded-ness,

a species of grief,

the light on its own there,

and the last echo of the trees going down.

A few shafts flare through, toward me

and toward the other woman who walks by on the trail.

Elusive, she says as she passes,

and I think she means the barred owls calling out

from behind the ridge, off to one side,

then the other,

always invisible, moving,

moving in the upper storeys.

But maybe she means time,

which can’t be right.


at the fir-beginnings, white-cut,

at eye level,

it is pure and circular.

Squally Reach

It opens like a seventh span of time.

The work of fusion, graft, relief,

the work of wind, water, silt,

the polishing,

the naming,

the mangled and un-mangled light

now one.



Their calls seem almost human

as they skim the fields,

first one, then a few more,

but not many in the last of this dusk.

As if they’ve suddenly awakened from a long sleep

to a world stunned by falling gray.

What sudden flatness,

what effort to lift the body into it.

As the wind of their muscled rise

hits the low perimeter,

what grief articulated there,

what lamentation.


Karen Enns is the Canadian author of three collections of poetry: Cloud Physics, winner

of the Raymond Souster Award, Ordinary Hours, and That Other Beauty, nominated for

the Gerald Lampert Award. Her most recent work, Ten Dislocations, will be published in

the spring of 2023.


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