On the ego's ability to bruise itself

By Sally Runions

eight years old she flew

a hummingbird in plastic tunnels

unhindered by flailing limbs around her,

not knowing, not caring

whether any eyes watched her


Come here, her mother said,

This man is the master of a dojo –

He’s seen the way you fly –

He thinks you’d excel under his training.

the invitation accepted,

determined to prove the ability

he’d seen in her,

she flung herself through the tubes once more

this time, moved faster –

this time, pushed harder –

this time, strained farther –

this time –

...this time,

clipped her wings on other limbs

spiraled into curving walls

bruised her back on cold plastic