Jul/Aug 2017 Poetry Special Feature

Child's Pose

by Jack Murphy

Image courtesy of the British Library Photostream

Child's Pose

I started yoga on the advice of my therapist—
She felt it'd be good I try something new. I'm terrible.
The instructors, with uniform grace, reach and balance,
say "once you've found stability on the crown of your head,
gently spin until you achieve weightlessness" as one might ask
to borrow a pen, a glass of water, a ribbon to tie a bow.

At these times, I feel perhaps my body is broken.
I've surely received a substandard model, since recalled.
I become a gallery of broken limbs, a ship following
a siren and crashed upon the rocks. The instructors smile.
It's not like your football coach would run things: no glares,
no appeals to your manhood, no spittle-flecked tirades.

I think of my own students, in 11th grade English. Wonder
how often they endure such feelings of brokenness.
Do I make them feel their words are wrong, counterfeit?
Experience resentment at my own impossible poses,
so fluent on my tongue, so shoddy on their own?
Even my Child's Pose is shoddy. I can't even rest properly.

Occasionally, towards the end, I'll peak open my eyes.
The lights are low, candles lit, true believers in expensive pants
gathered in communion. I revert to my childhood copings:
look around. Grin. Make funny faces. Imagine lying in the grass.
Running bases, swinging a bat. Throwing curveballs.
A game winning catch. Jumping so high I do not come down.


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