One-Hand Suitcase Carry

The trainer at the gym hands you a 25-lb. weight 
for what's called the one-hand suitcase carry— 

weight of a sack of rice, weight of a squirming
toddler, weight of three gallons of water 

like the ones you somehow carried from 
the busted main in the park, days after 

the earthquake in your city. How did you do it,
how does anyone manage a new hardship

that arrives without warning, without 
instructions or any period of training, 

that simply drops at your feet so you 
have no choice but to learn by carrying?

In Middle English, the word lift once meant 
the air, the atmosphere; the sky, the firmament.

A raising up from the ground or soil or mud,
or picking up and dusting off to stand upright

again. The move is supposed to open up
tight shoulders so they align with the natural 

curve of the spine. Everything, you're told, 
connects: core, shoulders, upper back, hips, 

glutes. Your goal is to walk bearing this weight 
without falling, to work with the resistance

that wants to derail your grounding. This 
kind of suitcase isn't a wheelie; how long

and how well can you schlep? What is this instinct
to carry, forward and back, once it's in your hands?  

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