Welcome—leave those clunky sneakers at the door—
slippers or bare feet are best for now.
Breathe in deep, exhale all the can’ts—
all those fears, pains, discombobulated body parts.
You are a whole mind-and-body being
here to play tai chi.
Stand still and notice your feet
sinking into the floor.
Breathe out. Relax jaw, neck, shoulders,
feel your spine lift your head until it’s suspended from the sky.
Begin to move from your core—your hands
two inches below your navel.
Let your breath sink down, down to your gut.
Separate earth and sky—lower body heavy, grounded,
upper body light, fluid—a bird.
Move in slow smooth circles side to side,
push off from the earth,
let your torso, arms and head follow
like a flock of birds.
Stand still again—
feel the silence
release all those past days and future nights into
present moment, present movement—now.
At home, repeat the circle again and again—
practice in the yard under the trees
in the living room with rug rolled up
at the rest stop along the interstate.
Play tai chi until your beautiful body,
steady on a crane’s leg,
spreads its wings and flies
with the flock of birds.