White Flag by Karen Enns

Our lives are dreamlike and ungrounded.
What we thought we understood is left behind
in yellowed newsprint on the seats of trains and buses,
in the cellars of old houses with uneven roofs.

What do we know of the solid calculations of our age?

Wavering air takes hold of our nerves,
unthreads our certainties, our pacts and arguments.
Unhinges our desires.

All we can do is surrender to the bright complicity of birds,
to their perfect pitches, the pure homing sense
that measures risk and flight in increments of faith.

Our souls, light years away, are spoken for, our musics
laid down, smoothed over, delayed, all of it
laid down as we hear.


Copyright © Karen Enns. Originally published in Cloud Physics (University of Regina Press, 2017).


Karen Enns is the author of three collections of poetry: Cloud Physics,Ordinary Hours, and That Other Beauty, shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert AwardHer poems have appeared in many literary journals including The Malahat ReviewPrairie FireThe New QuarterlyGrain, and The Antigonish Review. A native of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, she studied music and worked as a classical pianist before publishing her first writing. She lives in Victoria, BC.

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