From The Invisibility Exhibit (2008) by Sachiko Murakami.The rule we first are taught is not to raisethe blade until your partner masks himself,but Maître's face is exposed, unconcerned.My gloved and too-small hand is curled aboutthe grip: a toy-gun trigger. Follow me,step back, step forward, cross the hall. The weighthangs hard upon my wrist: I rest. The weightis in the guard, not the blade. I sweat,or weep in my mask's cage; in here, it's hardto 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 lengthrepair itself, from tip to counterweightof my left hand. Sometimes the point will landon target. Like that. Good girl. We both knowthat I am here to win his praise. Enough.The quick salute; at last I can relax.We're going to have a party this weekendat 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 meas 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 bothinto the fray. En guarde. Vous prêtes? Allez.