Respect your issues, intones the yoga teacher,
sitting cross-legged on the mat. She means

listen to what the pain in your hips or your lower
back are saying to you, listen to the twinges

in your spine as you hinge forward as far
as you can. But instead I think about nights

I toss and turn in bed, inside my quilt of worry;
or of how many times arrows have rained down

from a gap in the sky or the hunter's belt.
My head can't quite touch the floor but

I try; and when I lift one leg and ground
the other I know it is balance that's

the goal--to give only enough to pain and save
the rest for thought and work, pleasure and hunger.

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