Brenda Nicholas

Balasana: Child’s pose Newly born into this practice,I fold into a bundle, nose pressed into soft mat,arms splayed along curled legs,breath calm as an infantfresh from a mother’s womb. I sip gentle air,think of babies sleepingas if steepingfor later greatness,like tiny tea bags nestledagainst the side of this world. My body is reachinginto the past, searchingfor my inner-baby’s wisdom—that vulnerable waya baby acceptswhat each day reveals. Shavasana: Corpse Pose This pose did not prepare mefor my father’s death,for that slow fall, autumn’s quiet leaving—one gentle float to the ground at a time.I watched his eyes close for business, then his voice,and I studied the hospice pamphlet as ifin some strange classroom, crammingfor a final exam about stages of death.I wanted to believe what I read was true—the auditory system is last to shut down,and he was carefully packing my final wordsto move into his new home inside my heart.I wanted to believe death was circling back to birth,and he was steeping like tea in this world’s cupbefore his spirit would rise like steam to the next.He lay there like a baby kingswaddled in a royal blue velvet blanket,adrift a mattress covered in white sheetsas my daughter played guitar,and our family sang “Evening Star”—his favorite song turned lullaby.I want to believe death is resting—a final pose in yoga classbefore venturing out to the restof a day. While, overhead, my fatherpeers down through blurry clouds, sings,Hari Om, Hari Om, Hari Om,Hurry Home, Hurry Home, Hurry Home. Utkatasana: Chair Pose Bend your knees, pressfeet together, sit back. Reach your hands skywardpast glass ceilings. Depend upon nothingbut your strength. Let your legs and arms bebalanced, hold you planted into earth: an indestructibleSequoia, solid and rooted. Do not expectanything to appear. There is only you& a chair of air. Prepare to learnto sit without. Brenda Nicholas is an Associate Professor of English at Temple College and lives in Austin TX. Her work has appeared in The Painted Bride Quarterly, Main Channel Voices, Red River Review, Illya’s Honey, Menacing Hedge, Snapdragon, The Helix Magazine, and other literary journals.