Sheryl’s Boyfriend is an Olympic Contender on the Pommel Horse



He took her to Colorado Springs
and they let her in for a visit,
though she was flabby. She got to see
everything portioned – the daylight,
the mayonnaise, the exertion.
Perfect, timed, studied –
the arc of an arm over water,
the circle of an ankle over ground.
She couldn’t believe the mathematics.

He said he could tell who had fire
in their belly and who was extinguished already.
He led her to the empty weight room,
the hollow clicks of steel silenced.
He told her that even brass has a higher
specific gravity than bronze, but that both
gold or silver are respectable, so long as second
place doesn’t cry during the national anthem.
She considered the mentality of measurement.

The imp in her heart, the failure,
wanted to kiss him sloppily, stumble
instead of stick the landing.


Listen to this poem:


About Author

Amber Shockley was awarded Gray’s College Bookstore’s Award for Creative Writing in 2002. After a ten year hiatus during which various, sordid things happened, she reappeared as a finalist for Reed’s Edwin Markham Prize in 2012. She received her MFA in Poetry from Queens University of Charlotte in 2013. Since, she has published sporadically in print as well as in online journals and blogs. Her poetry focuses on women’s experience, poverty and mental illness.

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