Closed Fist, Open Heart by John R. Canter

I thought that she’d be just another tournament contestant: that I could knock her down with just three punches or so, let the ref announce that Choi Park was the winner yet again, and move on to my next guy. I am very glad I was wrong.


Upstream by John R. Canter

A leaf, crimson red, falls into the water and floats on top. It flows down the stream, like a tiny boat in autumn colors sailing on the gentle water's flow. Above, the orange sky of dusk fades lazily in from the afternoon. Below, a carp swims in the opposite direction. Upstream. The koi is old. He was once a captive creature, the pet of nobles, bred for show, that like so many others were released into the wild. He swims forward against the current, with deliberate intent but pacing himself. He remembers the climb from previous years, and in his age knows that this will likely be his last attempt.