A Fight That Never Was

Posted on Monday, October 18, 2010, under


The thing I’ve set out to learn
a thing I’ll never altogether learn
is the thing re, and of, your suppleness –
which otherwise reverberates through
its twenty-eight thesaurus hatchlings:
compliance, pliability, elasticity, plasticity…

The other week we’re on a pushbike,
me pedalling, you at the rear
(a cushion for your exquisite Zen bum)
along the star-befuddled streets
when I finally stop at the quiet corner
of Kiyamachi and the one below Sanjo.
I turn and find you not on your seat,
all hundred and six pounds
(hereby printed with your permission)
of your flesh and bones gone.
I panic, but minutes later you reappear –
your usual gait, a disarming giggle.
The timing and the reasoning
of your disappearing act, I’m yet to learn.

A bit later when your suppleness
draws an invisible border line
between me and one arrogant prick
ordering us to move the bike as if
he owned the sordid pavement.
Normally I’d cry foul, pick up
a fight perhaps. And for a moment
the neon-lit concrete starts to melt
and the air gets thick like the air
inside a heavyweight ring,
and I see them unseen eyes
a-flicker behind curtain ropes
and tinted cars, calling for blood.

But it is your subtle referee touch
cancelling a bout before it even began.
Cream girl in the ring
shows an unhurried motion
of Noh-like unhurriedness,
as your hand leads its partner’s
out of the ropes and into the night
away from the world’s unseen eyes.

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