Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 113 in 2007.
I'm 16 and skating
around and around the ring,
trying to make sense of how
life's treated me so far.
In the center, doing lopsided spins,
I'm like the dog circling and circling nose to tail,
trampling reality to make his bed of comfort
dizzying the world to a blur
before it can shake me apart.
Suddenly ELO's "Livin' Thing" comes on over the loudspeakers
and it all clicks. I head out to the far edge,
hugging the wall for maximum speed
the gypsy violins squeezing out my hurt
and replacing it with adrenaline.
The ice is forgiving.
It cradles my blades.
My stride is sure
from hip to toes.
Session's ending. The vapid cha-cha version of
"What Now My Love" blasts
behind the announcer's voice.
As the ice empties I sneak one last victory lap
as if my life depended on it
and for now, it does.