two mountains and sun
Image credit: Joymae Capps
Poetry

Starting Tai Chi Lessons


Breathe in, breathe out.
Practice wuji, let go.

The instructor moves,
I grasp the sparrow’s tail.

Roots shifting slowly.

Did I shut off the car lights
before I left?

Roll back, press, withdraw
Push thoughts away.

Turn toward single whip.

Is my phone off?
Please don’t ring during class.

Watch the mirror,
looking, falling behind.

Lift hands, step narrow, what next?

Is she doing that correctly?
Where am I?

Flowing confidently now.
Brush knee and push.

Strum the guitar.

Parry, block and punch.
Feet hurt, shoes tight.

Where’s the white crane?
Must remember

dishwashing soap

on the way home.
Tiger returns to mountain.

Martin Middlewood
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Martin Middlewood, author of “Starting Tai Chi Lessons,” is a writer, poet, and tai chi instructor living in Vancouver, Washington. He has hundreds of freelance articles to his credit and has taught tai chi for a quarter of a century.