Hit Box Ars Poetica

Kara Dorris

You must arrive — fast or slow —

& play it slant. Take a stance: spread your arms & legs.

You must move into & out of your white space,

air that stings & waits

to fill — your dancer’s invading quickstep,

your enemy’s roundhouse kick, your captive’s

kiss — this is your hit box.

Straight arm is one box; bent elbow two;

a body in motion can be two or five

at any given time. You can’t see

your own hit box, but neither can they. In video games,

this is how you learn: you’re dead. Sometimes,

programmers disable rest defense

so you can’t admire what hit deals death.

Words are boxes too, you know, one will kill you — bitch,

little girl, mediocre, gimp.

Programmed to score, we love to watch

this hit box porn. Hit against hit. It’s easy to assault

just another box. You think distance is

a sparring pad but a hit is a hit is a hit. Yes, it protects

& it also teaches us to hurt

                                      & how to

                                                    & when.


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