“Ode To a Bruise”
By Wild Violet
I arrived and walked through the door
of the Armory for the practice du jour.
As a newbie skater
my skills would come later
after many falls to the floor.
I lined up as my legs did shake,
my insides seeming to quake,
to practice a drill
hoping not to spill
or to cause my body to break.
The trainers announced: “Time to jump!”
and into my throat came a lump.
What were they, nuts?
We’ll fall on our butts!
The adrenaline started to pump.
I watched wide-eyed as one by one
the skaters lined up for the fun
of clearing the hurdle
or falling to turtle
but catastrophes- there were none.
As I stepped up to the cones for my turn
my stomach continued to churn.
“Ok, here goes!”
I silenced my woes
and took off feeling my face burn.
With all my hesitation to go
I arrived at the hurdle too slow
and pointed my nose
down toward my toes,
as my legs tangled I shouted “Oh no!”
Onto the gym floor I thumped,
landing on the side of my rump.
Though I felt some slight pain
I mostly felt shame-
for my fear caused me to miss the jump.
I stood back up and shook myself out.
Trainers gave an encouraging shout:
“Try it again!”
So I lifted my chin,
and skated back round’ fighting doubt.
I fell again and again on that day,
thinking “Oh, Derby Gods, show me the way!
To master this jumping
and get my legs pumping,
so this skill I may finally slay!”
Back home after practice I felt
how the side of my left thigh swelled.
Tender and blue-
hot to the touch too-
from the repeated blows it was dealt.
As days passed bigger she grew.
My first “derby kiss”- something new!
I named her Big Bertha,
for she was big as the Earth a
symbol for pushing through.
I wore her with pride and wincing smile,
for she proved I’d gone the extra mile,
and not given up
when the going got tough
as I endured my roller derby trial.
She transformed through many hues-
yellow, green, purple, black, and blues.
To me, Bertha meant
that I’d tried and tried again.
So I sing this Ode to my Derby Bruise.
(Though jumping I still need to practice,
and wonder if I’ll ever quite hack this,
I shall never give up
If I fall on my rump.
Bertha would want me to attack this.)