Artistic Gymnastics


Romans we were not

and our bikes not as high

as Arabian horses

didn’t require

mounting and dismounting lessons


but our moustachioed

Wagnerian sports teacher

orchestrated with scornful frowns

the three-second pieces

of our great leaps and falls


acrobatic dramas compounded

presto on the carpeted run

fear hurled onto the springboard

touching the vault with sweaty hands

bad landing with hops and steps


at times paralysed ghosts stood

on the way to fame and flexibility

breaking our run and his fun

cancelling the turns in the air

our ascent to gymnastic glory


the pummeled mat sympathised

with our shaky legs

the august apparatus

a museum piece

never once budged.


(Sabine Huynh, published in The Last Stanza – An anthology of poems from Tel Aviv)

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