Karen Enns Reads from Dislocations
Join us for a poetry break – courtesy of a reading by Karen Enns, from her 2023 collection Dislocations.
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.
We walk on hard ground, frost-covered, clotted,
an atlas of what’s already been.
And then there is this: the air is thin,
unknowable, not kind.
Who can sleep?
We dream of dark, crouching birds, small
and smaller rooms, inconsistencies of meaning in the walls,
conjugating infinite verbs.
Deft. It was deft
the way brilliance was heaped on us,
through leaves like that,
distilled, too much
and not enough at once,
charged with a pizzicato intelligence.
You could say it was blinding, but it wasn’t.
There were visions in the under-pitch,
Without which the moment flattens out
and spreads, becomes the length and width
of one endless night.
Rattling its tail of bristles.
Without which, meaning love,
dawn will be difficult
What we know now is less disclosed
than what we knew before
We could walk on water then, couldn’t we?
Slabs of transparency,
Overtones of light splintered the surface
as if it were glass
Dislocations takes the reader on a lyrical journey, wrapped in the vicissitudes of seasons and weather—all while observing human and other-than-human lives. Award-winning poet Karen Enns invites us to peer, always concerned with the locations and dislocations perspective implies and creates.
Karen Enns is the author of the three previous books of poetry: Cloud Physics, winner of the Raymond Souster Award, Ordinary Hours, and That Other Beauty. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.