Haute Dish The Arts & Literature Magazine of Metropolitan State University red flower
Summer 2005




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Jennifer Sansom

July 2002: Encounter (Fulfillment)

The back wall is painted with a star
The instructor speaks with me for three hours
Whips the air with whirling rattan sticks.
He is the weapon I want to be.
I do not look at him but watch his reflection in the mirror.

August 2002: Renshu (Self-Defense)
I learn that if a group of men ever threatens me
I should make a gruesome example of the leader.
I see myself reflected over a black belt’s shoulder
Listening wide-eyed like a frightened child
As he tells me how to rip out a human eye.

February 2003: Jitsu Do (Way of the Martial Art)
I am absorbed into the regular karate classes
The glass reveals me in uniform
(Bone white, innocent white)
I long for the hues of experience.
I try to reassure myself, for
White contains all colors.

August 2003: Delusion (Perfection)
White gi top, black pants, dark blue cloth wrapped around my middle.
I am color in motion.
Lower belts and family gaze in admiration
Yet I only have eyes for the black belts behind me
Perfection – in my eyes – blurs in the mirror.

March 2005: Illusion (Perception)
Frustrated (I can’t learn this; I’m not smart enough)
But I press on anyway.
What’s the point of quitting now
When I know so little and know how much I could have?
The instructor says that the mind is a weapon
We are only as good as we think ourselves to be
Yet he knows we are much better than we think.
It is only when I practice in front of a pane of jagged glass
That I perceive—
I have become the mirror of my dreams.

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