(This is Sappho one of those poets from the Early Days.)
by Monica de la Torre
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.