Self-Care in the Basement

During the yoga video I scrape

fur from the carpet. Cat. Cow. Down Dog.

I dust by streaks. The keyboard keys.

The amp. The particleboard backing

to this tilted desk. Its walnut laminate.

The basement floor’s a jumble of tectonic

plates and dog toys. Cement waves underfoot

wobble my foundation. Tree Pose. Roots. Limbs.

Time to turn my critical eye to something new.

Half Moon. Warrior Two. Reverse

Warrior. Three volumes sound from the floor above my head:

Piano. Mario Kart. YouTuber wisecracking

to the tune of adolescent dopamine. Down below,

the instructor slows. I pose. I sink outward and tip.

Emily Pérez is the author of What Flies Want, winner of the Iowa Prize; House of Sugar, House of Stone, and two chapbooks. She co-edited the anthology The Long Devotion: Poets Writing Motherhood. A CantoMundo fellow and Ledbury Critic, her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Copper Nickel, Fairy Tale Review, and Poetry. She teaches high school in Denver, where she lives with her family. Find more at

Next Page (Emily Pérez)

Previous Page (Amber Pineda)