Squatting


One painful night in China,
I crouch, ass below hips,
in pitch dark, and hover outside,
plowing deep water buffalo dung,
a cup of scalding tea
bitter atop my black hair.

Remember
Balance kneecaps
Align parallel toes
Assume Front Horse
Torso right, torso left
Head still
Disguise motion
Divert intentful eyes.

Arrow Horse shoulders
squarely right angled,
my thighs tighten as monkeys,
praying mantises, centaurs
other creatures spring
from my perfect chair,

a black lacquered sedan
of silk cushions
hoisted above ancestral ghosts
buried long ago
over a shallow hole
in moist ground

where I remain resilient
calm water engulfing hard stone.

Back home
I learn
from this position
the hard way

the hard lesson
of how the center
of gravity
below my waist
is inflexible

like my stiff knees
or your unbending
love

when you stooped low that moonless night
on the bottom back porch step beyond my sight,
how was I supposed to know where you went
you just slammed the door after we left, in discontent.
You were so fierce because she wanted to go out
and glared at me who told you no doubt,
"it’s not like you’ll find us together in the sack"
just a few drinks besides I swore I'd be right back.
So stupid insensitive me had absolutely no clue--
proceeded anyway thinking everything would be cool.
You left, gone who knows where when I walked in
and caused me to fret for hours hoping, worrying, waiting...
while all that time you sat just outside the back kitchen door,
I panicked everyone I called imagining nothing but horror.

Kneel down
Straighten out back
Grab each earlobe
Raise elbows above shoulders
Maintain position

Su-en mocks my American disability
Yu-Chia openly laughs
Bani harrumphs

Lower
get lower
and keep your heels
planted

to counterweight
an entire row
of villagers
loitering, eyes aglaze.

stoned statues
petrified gray lions
knelt in wait
to defend