Some Tips For the New Silver Sneakers Instructor

Leah Mueller

Put a group of elders

in a room with a massive tub

filled with rubber balls,

and invite them to play.

They will comply

within seconds, glad

for the break in routine.

Watch them throw

the balls to each other,

while one of the guys

shakes his hips to jazz.

The elders will play

the whole hour

if you let them:

tossing balls

back and forth,

running around

the room in circles.

At the end of the game,

you’ll need to tell them

to return the balls

to the container.

They will comply,

but they won’t be

happy about it.

When noon comes,

they’ll have to return

to being old, and no one

looks forward to that.

The elders will

show you their scars,

detail their operations,

recite a long litany

of body parts, removed

for one reason or another.

They will thank you

for teaching them yoga.

They will cover

their bodies with hats

and jackets, then leave:

stoic, fortified for traffic.

You’ll scoop up the

debris of class,

return everything

to its proper container.

The rubber balls lie inert

in piles, securely covered

until the next time

the elders come to play.

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Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Tacoma, Washington. She is the author of two chapbooks and four books. Her next two books, "Death and Heartbreak" and "Misguided Behavior, Tales of Poor Life Choices" will be published in Autumn, 2019 by Weasel Press and Czykmate Press. Leah’s work appears in Blunderbuss, The Spectacle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, Mockingheart Review, and other publications. She was a featured poet at the 2015 New York Poetry Festival, and a runner-up in the 2012 Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest. you can find her at and