Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

by Leza Lowitz

Original Language English

Within my body
there's a city --

nameless streets
dead-end alleys

of pains and promises,
a mapless Atlantis

cordoned off by years and bones.

The muscles pull
the tendons throb

my joints crack out
their resistance --

places I've ached

for a quarter of a century
send out their muted frequencies

from an unfamiliar

Descending too quickly,
I implode.

Down here, or even up there
breath is the most

difficult of absences
and so, two finger-widths

into the hara
I find my bearings

oxygen tank both empty and full.

Listen to the place
you feel it the most

says the teacher,
head dangling from

adho mukha

a single bulb
on a simple cord.

So once again
I go down deeper

to where
the muscles pull

the tendons throb
the pain travels

its clandestine escape
and then retreats

in the halfway reach
where each breath

raze another
skyscraper I've aspired to,

brings the earth up
a little lighter between my toes.

-- from Yoga Poems: Lines to Unfold By, by Leza Lowitz

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Downward-Facing Dog