Ninja Toads

"Victory is a fat pullet that, if it knows you want it,
runs," Sensei declares. "But if you sidle up,
pretending to read an exposé about, say, JFK
and Marilyn Manson, you can leap, catch the bird,
and wring its neck." Sensei prepares us for that leap

of faith. With proper training, he insists, a big ninja
can beat a half-pint tax attorney in a fight.
"When Short Stuff tries some fancy foot-sweep, grab
his face, and crush! If he tries a crotch kick, tear off
his grasshopper-leg! If he's too fast, let him outrun a .45."

Sparring done, we grip each other's tongues and pull
for a good stretch. We tie dumbbells to the tips, and practice
curls, or flick opponents' faces from across the dojo,
while in the next room—gnashing mouth parts, rubbing
legs like eager hands—Big Toshiro waits: the Sumo Fly.
               -Charles Harper Webb
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