More Poetry for the Olympics: Listen to the Story and the Poems on Morning Edition NPR; Which One Will “Medal,” As The Talking Heads Say.


(This is Sappho one of those poets from the Early Days.)

(Poets from around the world are competing in NPR’s Olympic Games in support of the ancient Olympic tradition of doing mental and muscle sports. Here’s another one.–Patty)


by Monica de la Torre

For María del Rosario Espinoza

It was my feet. They were oversized for my age,

restless and strong enough to do more than pick fruit or sell fish.

For kicks, in my hometown of two thousand, I tried taekwondo. I was five.

The neighbors, they thought of me as marimacha.

Women around me were tough, but they were no tomboys.

Dad, a fisherman by trade, was undeterred. He’s good at cultivating.

He and I, we’re driven people. The kind that look

beyond the horizon — westward and eastward in step.

Hence we outgrew the dirt roads of La Brecha (The Gap) in Sinaloa.

Did I choose the art; was it the art that chose me?

But for a white uniform, I had the essentials.

This was my calling: self-defense for which you needed no arms. Only fists.

Rock solid. And limber limbs and a feistiness

not antagonistic. Think dealing blows so less blows

are dealt — aiming to stop the fight, but not destroy your rival, your equal.

Where I am from, some folks do things differently.

My way’s the way of the hand and foot, and unity

of purpose. On the tatami, I write their bodily calligraphy.