A Box for Yokozuna

W. Todd Kaneko

From the dark rises Yokozuna —

sumo king with a belly full of thunder,

a hunger for pushing men off

their feet into the earth. His eyes

grow wide at the thought of a coffin,

that luxurious interior, that grim

receptacle for hair and bone.

It’s that push a man’s body makes

against other men that defines how strong

the flesh can be. It’s that push against

Yokozuna that marks the limits

of a man’s body. Death looks smaller

when viewed from a distance, more

insidious from the inside of a box.

Yokozuna looks bigger as he pushes

a man down, as he mashes a skeleton

beneath his buttocks. It’s that thump

thump against ribs that reminds

a man of dark spaces that push

in on him when he is alone.

Yokozuna claps his hands, purifies

the ground with a stomp, the air

with a handful of salt for dead men

suffering in a world without sleep.

Somewhere there is a bed for each of us,

a box that will not open no matter

how hard a man might push.

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