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Claire Denson

Have You Tried Yoga

Have You Tried Yoga

Be like the turtle, go inside 
your stress, the Buddhist says before 
setting himself on fire. At the window

in the kitchen before the sink
it is not interesting to listen
to myself. Nothing changes                           

in the brain during meditation
for beginners, the neurologist
claims. Plate, pan, spatula, splattered

kettle; I scrub my fingertips 
chapped. The yogi says send 
your hips back, send your heart down

and though I try, I no longer know 
how to cry. I stroke the thorns 
on the aloe, notice new growth 

of basil from the otherwise dying 
stem. My mind knows time 
is abstract and moves back

to the autumn street of childhood, 
hands smashing cake as I watch
next year’s birthday pass

the same as today. I know meditation 
is routine. I dry the last dish, walk
to my desk and write another
plan to erase.

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Claire Denson’s work appears in the minnesota reviewMassachusetts ReviewSalt Hill Journal, BOOTHPeach Mag, SporkletGlass: A Journal of Poetry, and  Hobart, among others. She reads for The Adroit Journal and lives in Brooklyn, NY. Find more at

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