Missing Laybacks and Double Loops

I

I step onto the ice
and skate to my mark.
Don’t fall, don’t screw
up; remember to keep
my arm in front
before takeoff
on the double loop.

Music begins and I’m off moving
from one element to the next
as gracefully as I can.
One landed jump
there and one completed spin
here. Double loop landed. Phew.
I take my curtsey.

I want to get back out there.
I wish I had enjoyed
the feel of the ice while it lasted.
November shows with skating stars
like Peggy Fleming and Trovill and Dean,
and Sunday mornings just for fun.
Jessica, Megan, Kristina, and I use to
practice, eat lunch, and shop together.

II

My biggest regret
was never going back.

I was in high school and wanted
to try new things.
Like acting classes with Monologues from Go.
You get this box, you’re sure your know what’s inside
of it, you shake it, you weigh it, you’re total convinced
you have it pegged, no doubt in your mind.
Then you open it up and it’s completely different.
You know, wow, bang, surprise.

This didn’t compare to the feeling
you get when you’re on the ice.
There’s a high you feel
when you’ve accomplished another difficult jump
or combination jump or spin.
Like double lutz or flying camel, sit spin.

The rush you feel when you jump
up in the air—keep your body tight
then land on one foot
and pull your left leg out behind you.

You can perform your routine
and make the audience
ooh and aw over the simplest of moves.
A spiral or step sequence makes the audience
cheer more than any double axel can.

III

I was on my way to the Olympics.
Why did I give up?

It was a community of aspiring
champions and we pushed
each other.
No double, double was too difficult
with friends rooting you on.

We all had the same gold medal dream;
it was just a matter of how far
we were willing to go.

One friend’s parents’ wouldn’t allow
her to skate with lower level
girls, in fear of hurting her chances.
At that point I was no longer invited
to her birthday parties.
She was only my best friend.

Most skaters moved on and never reached the top.
One fellow skater touched Olympic
ice last year. He did not medal,
but his ambition had been realized.

He had done what I had given
up. I pushed my self to the limits
of a broken foot and over rotated jumps.
I was too afraid to continue.
My coach had left. I
no longer had anyone
to help me reach the flame.

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