Cut Off Notice

Cut Off Notice
by J. Hudson

Hours before I bathe, 
I tell myself that the frigid water is misogi— 
ritual dousing, a rite of purification
that scrubs my muscle and bones
of weakness. 

And each time I step into the bitter stream, 
I mutter, that which does not kill me makes me stronger, 
that occidental mantra written when men still had boot straps. 

But then my teeth begin to chatter
and my heart begins to pump blood
from my limbs to my essential organs
and the chant shifts from truth to platitude. 

When I step from the tub
and see my blue body in the mirror, 
I’m not an avatar of Krishna, 
as I wish to be, 
but part cadaver, 
a body without a soul, 
a man without a job
or money to pay his bills. 


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J. Hudson is now the manager of the Hudson Farmer’s Market in Hudson, Ohio. He is a member of both the Kent Zendo in Kent, Ohio and the First Congregational Church in Hudson, Ohio and is the father of four children, aged 2-34.