The Tenth Circle of Hell

Therapeutic squats.
The tenth circle of hell.
Squeeze the blanket, down slowly
(One, two, three,
four, five, six,
seven, eight, nine, ten.)
And up.
Knees hurt, but we can do this.
Two
(one, two, three
four, five, six,
seven, eight, nine,
ten).
Slowly up.
Three. Four. Five.
Six. Seven.
Fire spreads through
Quads and calves.
Slowly up, feel the coolness
as muscles ease their strain.
Eight. Calves wanting to cramp.
Nine. Burning fire. Blessed cool.
My sore left knee protests,
“What did I do to deserve this?”
Just one more.
Ten. More fire. More cool.
I’m done for now.

Streaming jungle.
Tiger cage. Crouching inside.
Muscles scream, cramp.
Mosquitoes whine and bite,
spreading pain and disease.
Skin splits, festers, oozes.
Fetid water, small break
from the cage.
Bones pop and creak,
Tight muscles scream and stretch.
Tiger cage. Endless crouch.
Muscles scream in protest.
Squats are the tenth circle of hell.
Some have survived the eleventh.

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