We will make it out of the Death Pagoda because we both know how to dance. You are a beautiful salsa instructor and I work at your uncle’s restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown. We both know how all the other busboys swoon for the way your legs kick sharp on one, the way your hips roll dangerous on two. When your uncle is kidnapped by gangsters, you turn to me—a young Kung Fu fighter from Hong Kong who snatches fruit flies out of the air with chopsticks. We will track him to Fisherman’s Wharf where I’ll scrap with a judo expert, put him down with a knife hand to the throat: cha. I’ll brawl with a boxer on the Golden Gate Bridge, sidekick him headlong into the grill of an eighteen wheeler: cha. I’ll duel with a Karate champion at the top of Coit Tower, launch him to his death with a flying backfist and a spinning roundhouse kick: cha cha cha. We’ll make out on a cable car en route to the final battle. We’ll make out in case we don’t make it out. We know that in the end, we’ll dance for our lives against that black belt cowboy and his swarm of ninjas in the Death Pagoda. You brandishing a mean high heeled shoe. Me whirling a pair of nunchakus around both our bodies. We know that every dance is a blood sport. We can save the world. We can destroy everything.
W. Todd Kaneko is the author of the Dead Wrestler Elegies (Curbside Splendor, 2014). His poems, essays and stories have appeared in Bellingham Review, Los Angeles Review, Barrelhouse, the Normal School, the Collagist and many other places. He has received fellowships from Kundiman and the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he teaches at Grand Valley State University.