Prelude to Morning Yoga

The tinkle of a bell—tin meeting copper—

Shakes stiff bones to consciousness.

Still, awakening, my ears receive the day’s first sounds:

The rustle, crinkle, swish of sheets tossed back.


Teak floors leaking cracks of daylight from below

Creak under snappy, cracking, good-morning toes.

Screen doors pop, snap, click in and out of frames,

Ushering in fugitive mosquitoes.


There are


Sound barriers



Below me, solid teak doors slam shut,

And latches choke them closed.

Showers rush, fountains trickle,

And across the yard, I hear the tink-tink of breakfast dishes being set.


With every step, I bump into new sounds,

While familiar ones stalk me from behind.


The steady drone of instruments

Wraps itself around my head

It is an orchestra of unfamiliar sounds:


Ostinato of deep woodwinds

Unison chants


The tremolo of flutes

The pounding of tribal drums

Circulating voices

Up and down and up and down—


The fusion is anything but Western,

And my ears take pause to absorb its newness.

The first five minutes of my day

Are nothing short of a symphony.

This piece was written and published during a month-long study tour to Thailand with Whitworth University’s Women’s and Gender Studies program.