The Gymnast

Photo by Tim Mossholder on

Knuckle to knuckle she stands
Fists pressed against each other,
Elbows digging into her sides –
A bundle of nerves, as she twists around her waist.

She shrugs her shoulders, wrings her arms –
Trying to lose the butterflies.
She stares intently, at that which only she can see.

She inhales deeply as it dawns on her,
That all the time she toiled away,
Has condensed into this solitary moment.
As the spotlight shines, she must be sublime.

She arches her back, throws up her arms in a taut smile
Holds her breath, as she eyes the distance:
     She sprints down the runway, springs on the board,
     Up in the air she trusses into a ball,
     She darts between bars –
     A blur of shimmering colors,
     She mocks gravity –
     On a beam narrow and mean.

     She leaps off the floor in perpendicular limbs,
     Tumbles in circles, twirls in straight lines
     Wraps the geometric pageantry in a flawless finish.

Arched back and outstretched arms
She flashes a winning smile to roaring applause.

Her eyes sparkle in the knowledge –
That she has scaled the insurmountable
Wrested, the impossible.

Inspired by the US women’s gymnastics team, Olympics 2012

2 thoughts on “The Gymnast

  1. beautiful. gave the pleasure of watching a gymnast live . and the line' she mocked gravity …' is simply superb. the poem has a calculated pace which speeds up to a crescendo and ends in a finale like a symphony . beautiful


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