The Journeys in Between

You hear a sound downstairs and, as you round the corner of the hallway to find out what the cat has knocked over this time, a man steps through the dining room window. The image of the blond hairs on his calf glowing in the sunlight freezes in your memory as you register that something is very wrong. You scoop up the toddler who followed…

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Flèche

I can’t get to you from where I am: / our distance too wide, my mind and body / too uncertain, your reaction unknown. / Your blade a vulture circling / above the whole of me, waiting / for my fall. My breath ragged, / I can’t go on. How do I close / this distance between us? / I see a gap under your arm, / a hole that your blade doesn’t cover…

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Blow Job

Growing up, karate was my favorite thing in the world. At first I wanted to play soccer and I quickly joined a team when I was six years old that I was on for all of about a season before I was kicked off it for constantly shoving the other players, with only a tiny little participation trophy to show for it...

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Practicing Tai Chi, I brush dirt against the wind

I stand like a tree, think in circles. My left foot / on the dark kitchen square of linoleum, the right / stepping onto a sunlit patch. And for fifteen minutes / on an ordinary day like this Sweeping Monday / I’m a Tai Chi warrior. I had expected to be / more lithe, ballerina, violinist, but here I am / housewife in sweats, fuzzy cat flip flops, cloud- / walking, collecting…

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The Old Tree

It started, like most things do, with one step. One step into the park, to watch the birds sit on one tree, then fly to another, as they traded news like young parents in the park on the benches. One step into the park, to watch the dogs sniff a trail that moved from tree to hole or along a fence. One step to another…

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Kata

The sacred waters of Kyoto / drip a bit of Dharma into my crown as I bow to my katana / and sensei, / allowing kata / to sharpen my mind, / and shape me / into a peaceful warrior. / My beloved Zen teachers, / long gone wanted me to move on for I was low in ki / even though I practice reiki...

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Panther Training

Keep your chin down, / tucked to your chest, / your elbows tight against your ribs. / With every jab, you breathe. / Keep the balls of your feet on the mat, / tight like they’re nailed there. // If you open the middle, he’ll strike you right there, / and if he gets you good, you’re going down. / Even if you don’t drop, you’ll want to kneel on the mat / and…

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SHIFTING WEIGHT: Forty Years on the Dojo Floor

I haven’t often written of this thing inhabiting my body, its claws and feathers, its dragon breath pacing the circuit of my spine. It caught me when I was seventeen, though it had been stalking me since long before that. Each time it had neared, my mother had draped herself between us, and I never even got a good look at it. But when I…

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