by Marcella Wolfe

Wakamiho ties herself up. Rope-knotting art.

Hooks in. Swings from a low trapeze.

Kinbaku-bi (緊縛美), “the beauty of tight binding.”

Her form as open as the mouths of the men and women transfixed as she passes toward them. Body like a razor; still air moves in her sway.

Some like rope because the world falls away …

To hitch, a joining, a fastening tight enough. We all submit in some way. To see it in the flesh disturbs us. She flies.

Kinbaku-bi from Hojōjutsu (捕縄術), the traditional Japanese martial art of restraining a person using cord or rope; the art of binding a prisoner of war, though it is noted that some drew inspiration from other forms including Kabuki theatre.

Uncaptured, Wakamiho twists her own knots.

Hemp is soft, unlike jute. No chafed, red wrists, or freaks with manacles.

Only a knot she escapes through.

Marcella Wolfe is freelance writer and poet who lives a split life between Washington, D.C. and Paw Paw, West Virginia. Her poetry has been published in California Quarterly, Animus, Hawaii Pacific Review and other journals. She has also read on love at the Library of Congress Valentine’s Day series in Washington.