My mother-in-law has been in town this week for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. She's a figure skating fanatic. She and my late father-in-law also came out in 1998 when the World Championships were held at the Target Center. She enjoys the ice dancing and, eccentrically, the compulsory figures, so she gave Clara and me her tickets for the women's finals. Michelle Kwan won that year, and we were there to see it. But my favorite skater that year was a sixteen-year old Hungarian girl named Diana Poth, who came in tenth. This unpublished poem is from my early days as a poet:
Free Skate at Worlds
(Love Poem for Diana Poth, HUN)
Inscribe this poem in ice argot,
the fluent calligraphy of spin and glide,
tongue of cold steel untranslatable
into any frictional language of earth—
there is no word for the breath-held
caesura of your leaps, the smooth
scissor-sound of your cool perfection.
The mirror is ice-opaque which now
proclaims you the fairest—snow-white,
unparalleled flower, blossoming
in the full-skirted climax of your spin.
For these few minutes you are
everything we desire—a transcendence,
star-orb beauty that spins from your center,
centrifugal grace. In our flat-footed
grammar we may parse salchow and axel,
toe-loop, lutz, scan your triple and double—
needing to measure the exact quantity
of your shimmer. But there is no quantifying
the pure ardor of your solitary flame.
Place toe-pick punctuation here at the end,
gather your iced roses, this extravagant moment
when you stop spinning and settle back
into the vernacular of girlhood.
Adam Gurno has a photoset from his visit to the Nationals this week.
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