Posts Tagged ‘bow’

Learning to Bow




I think the invitation is to bow, I said.

I was, of course, thinking only metaphor.

But the next day I found myself

in bowing class—a well lit room

with a maple floor. The teacher

had an accent and I knew

that she meant business.

We bowed to the center, bowed

to the side, bowed with our heads

and our backs and our ribs,

bowed from standing, bowed

while seated, bowed on our knees

and bowed on our bellies. Every cell of me

bowed and bowed and bowed

and bowed until I puddled

on the floor. Today, every muscle

aches with the memory of bowing.

Some voice says to me, there has

to be another way. And another voice

says, oh darling, can you bow

to the ache? Here, I will show you how.


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I bow to the ache of it,
the deep inner eating
away at itself, I bow
to the shivers, the gooseflesh,
the waves of nausea and pain.
I bow to the unnamed,
to question, to dark.
And I bow to the fear
that swells in small spaces
and the vast quiet
that dissipates the fear.
I bow to every other human
who hurts and I bow
to the yellow flowers tonight
blooming in the muck
where the river used to be.
I bow to the ache, goddammit,
I bow to it and I bow
to the reluctance to bow to it,
bow to the longing to shove
it all away, and I bow,
hush now, just bow.

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