Doing things on the ground used to be natural: somersaulting, crab-walking, scrambling like a centipede. I’d Indian-cross my legs and pop up. Malcolm was amazed. “My legs don’t bend like that,” he’d say. But now if he’s not around to pull me up, I must get on all fours into a supplicant crawl and pray the right, stronger leg works. Staying upright is job one. In the safety of my bathroom, I bend at the knees, lower and raise, with my hand on the bathtub, grunting. Why do sounds of struggle sound ugly? Would yodeling distract my burning thighs?

Susan from down the street teaches Tai Chi. She pays a call on me, a private. On the front hall carpet in sock feet, I mirror her, the subtle shifts of weight in the ankle, knee, hip and lower back. Everything connects if you slow down, breathe. Be quiet! Our arms float like underwater movements as we drive our elbows through the resistance of air.

“Balance” – Nina Z. Temple –

Ink on 300 lb. cold pressed watercolor paper