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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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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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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Ogoshi!

A yellow belt restricts / this chubby boy’s midsection / like a boa constrictor, / The smell of starch / and sweat permeates / the fabric of my bright white Gi, / On my flabby left hand, / the number "65" a scribbled / mark from the weigh in, / Large blue mats cover / the cavernous auditorium / like wall-to-wall carpet, / Hundreds of fidgety kids / form a Great Wall perimeter / with crisscrossed legs as we…

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