“Bearing Witness” by Kris Kaila

Poetry Pause is the League of Canadian Poets’ daily poetry dispatch. Read “Bearing Witness” by Kris Kaila, part of our 2024 Poem in Your Pocket Day collection!

Bearing Witness

by Kris Kaila

I try to live what I consider a ‘poetic existence.’ That means I take responsibility for the air I breathe and the space I take up. I try to be immediate, to be totally present for all my work.

Maya Angelou

I dream of my mother’s fig tree

when I write about the way my heart

rolls down to my sleeve;

it lives on the outside

beating on top of the vein

that makes my ring finger twitch

when I forget to breathe.

I curl into my spine, my tongue

dries out, my heart turns into

a juicy ripe fig. Don’t let it skip

off my fingertips. Don’t let a

dull tooth pierce the supple

skin. Don’t let it scrape the syrupy

flesh — breathe

in the earthy air. Stretch till you

feel the tug of your muscles, hear

your joints snap into place. Pour, no

spill, yourself into the space. It’s okay

to be outside the lines…try to live…a ‘poetic


Kris (she/her) is a Punjabi Canadian poet, writer, book reviewer & blogger. Her poetry has been published with Maza Arts Collective and in various anthologies, including being reprinted in the Indian Yearbook 2022. Kris is a member of the League of Canadian Poet and Federation of British Columbia Writers. She was chosen as the poetry mentee for the Writers’ Trust of Canada Mentorship and a Pushcart Prize nominee for 2023. On rainy days in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Kris is usually reading or watching true crime docs if not writing and can be found @krisesque_life (IG)

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