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Spine of Fire

My friend bought me a pass to do Bikram yoga. Hot hot hot. The sweat rolling down, slippery behind my knees, my lungs feeling constrained and tight due to the spectre of cigarettes (today is 35 days smoke-free!). 

And today I laughed at myself! And marveled at myself. To hold these postures, to kick your leg out behind you all arabesque-like and curve yourself into a spoon, to twine your legs around each other like caterpillars on flower stalks, to bring your forehead to your knees like prayer–funny sometimes and profound sometimes and always beautiful because I am

Alive!

My friend AKD wrote this poem called “I Have, I Have, I Have” from the prompt of “I Want, I Want, I Want” in our writing class. “I have Life,” he said. And we all sighed in wonderment and behind that wonderment was wonderment that we should be surprised. That it could be that simple.

I laughed at myself because I am no yogi. I love my body but haven’t always. I stretched and focused my virgo meticulousness on the tiniest attunement of muscle and ligament, skin and tendon, and had to laugh at myself slipping from these contortionist positions into a sweaty, lobstery heap on my Yugi-Oh! towel spread across my yoga mat. The towel made me laugh, too. Yugi-Oh is like this watered-down anime that was a cartoon and(!) card game similar to Pokemon. I like his hair. Impossible yellow and fuschia spikes. And he always talks about “the heart of the cards.” You know I love that.

I looked around the room, each face poker-red, ripening sweat a nice unrestrained dankness in the air, lankness of the hair, faces screwed in concentration, but also a kind of surrender. I loved the Presence of it. I had no space in my cranium for lists and shoulds and fretting. Just in the moment. Breathing and sweating, one with my wondrous flesh.

On the way home, crunching a slightly tart and crispy apple, juice splattering all over my pink hands in my haphazard chomping, I located a warmth in my spine. A vitality. I looked at the fading sun and the incongruous snowflakes (scary if I let myself think about the juxtaposition in this time of global climate change and the freakishness of snow in Seattle) and relaxed into it. Into the dusk. A sweet little serpent of laughter rose up from my sacrum and I lifted my lips to Gratitude.

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Poet and Tarot Reader, specializing in Water Cartography
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