(Title from “Ways to Sustain” in “How to Dress a Fish” by Abigail Chabitnoy)

We all do our part:
The charge today is to act
as a human shield.

Growing up,
I had practice
as a chi buffer. I’ll start there.

It was never them.
Never about them.
In Feng Shui you must take
measures if the front door opens
to a back door or open window.

The chi runs away.
The chi is faultless.

We all do our part:
Enhance or multiply energy
with a mirror.

One must never tend to their quick,
wild chi by empowering
an exit point.

It was a flaw in
my childhood home:
A front door,
a small entry
direct to a sliding glass door.

Chi only chased its tail.
Chi was confused at that entry.
I think. Because

it was lack of knowing:
The heirloom mirror beside the entry.
But thick blinds and a rug
for mud banked what chi it could.

It was stylistic. A defect:
Upstairs the wall of mirrors amplified the
kitchen table’s chi and the piano
with my grandmother’s painting on top.

The percussion of
summer green bean snapping
and music lessons and
sharp remarks.

The chi itself is blameless.
At that table I learned.
I learned what I unlearn daily:
I was convinced I could protect
everyone else’s chi.