Sunday, 23 September 2012

Sunday Poem

The rule we first are taught is not to raise
the blade until your partner masks himself,
but Maître's face is exposed, unconcerned.
My gloved and too-small hand is curled about
the grip: a toy-gun trigger. Follow me,
step back, step forward, cross the hall. The weight
hangs hard upon my wrist: I rest. The weight
is in the guard, not the blade. I sweat,
or weep in my mask's cage; in here, it's hard
to tell. Again, one-two, stop hit; control!
Manipulate your tip and you will win,
or if you lose, at least you lose with grace. 
The lunges are nightmares he wakes me from,
corrects my pose; I feel my body's length
repair itself, from tip to counterweight
of my left hand. Sometimes the point will land
on target. Like that. Good girl. We both know
that I am here to win his praise. Enough.
The quick salute; at last I can relax.
We're going to have a party this weekend
at my farm, in Coquitlam. Want to come?
They grin and lean on blades, increase their flex.
They're laughing at a joke that they all get.
He leads me to the wire, and laughs at me
as I string up, test my tip on the floor.
I bend in the expected pose. We wait:
a judge we cannot see will fling us both
into the fray. En guarde. Vous prêtes? Allez.
From The Invisibility Exhibit (2008) by Sachiko Murakami.

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