When she takes off her shoes and steps into the Dojo; when she sheds her dress, the soft shell peels off her skin; when she winds a long, white band around her breasts before slipping into the Keikogi, its wide sleeves cut at her elbows; when she pulls the Hakama up her legs, tying the night-blue belt into a butterfly, tucking the wings just under her waist; when her hands reach into the Kote, the wrinkled leather cool to the touch; when she straps the Do in front of her torso, the hard and comfortable armor hugs her body like a lover; when she puts her head inside the Men, hiding her face behind the metal cage; when she wraps her gloved hands around the Shinai, the length of the sword extends before her; when she takes her stance, right foot forward, left heel lifted, the hem of her Hakama swishing on the springwood floor; she finally feels in Power. She could be Anybody — she could be Born Here, she could be a Man, she could be White, and people would be in her Mercy, for once. 


Yunya Yang was born and raised in Central China and moved to the US when she was eighteen. Her work has appeared and is forthcoming in Heavy Feather Review, Brilliant Flash Fiction, The Los Angeles Review, among others. She lives in Chicago with her husband Chris and cat Ichiro. Find her at www.yunyayang.com and on Twitter @YangYunya.