The Fieldstone Review

Sutemi Waza

My brother was seven when he choked me
faint flutter of carotid artery
thrummed against the bones of his wrists
before my two panicked fingers tapped out of
Okuri-eri-jime.

Moment before constellations
of veins flash: a brilliance of darkness,
my heart would clench,
a closed fist of panic.

Our Sensei knew this unbalance
that any muscle can forget to release
tighten against itself; blood furious,
implode.

He moved along his students,
always danced away his favorite,
the sacrifice, Sutemi Waza,
falter, a show of weakness that would
pin surprised boys under the weight of him

it was the Sutemi Waza,
in a moon dark motel room
that unbalanced him --
his body stiff against Uke
the sound of bone breaking
-kossetsu-
a mouth open in soundless surprise