Substitute Teacher

It's a dry, crackly, Santa Ana-winds kind of day,
the day before Halloween.
Even though I throw down my yoga mat
in its customary spot
and see the usual people,
it feels like anything could happen.

Enter the substitute.
This instructor isn't tiny and sinewy
like the others. She's tall and full-hipped;
broad-shouldered and smooth-bodied,
like a swimmer.
She's got braids on top of her head
and mushroom tattoos snaking around her ankles
and, smiling like a mild-mannered Viking milkmaid,
tells us that we will be doing one hundred pushups.