The hangar-sized rink is cast in blue, grey, violet.
We move to an assigned patch, drape a sweater
on the boards, place skateguards upside down
like tiny hulls. Voices are low yet perforate the liminal
zone between silence and song. Each one of us is alone
with something to do: trace a shape of infinity,
perfect the line we know dissolves under water and steam.
In the chill we do not move quickly enough to sweat.
We come around the figure slowing like an unwinding clock,
push off and peter out; repeat three times. A coach
in a shin-length parka traces a girl, correcting her free leg.
Twenty skaters concentrate on the line, repeat the figures
until motion and time translate for body. Someone picks up a scribe,
telescopes the arm to the tape marking the skater’s height.
The rough sound of the scribe’s pivot and scrape is so familiar
it evaporates unheard, like a breath.


Elee Kraljii Gardiner