in the elementary school gym, across the corner of the vast wood floor,
I saw these older girls doing these flips.
Feet over head, hair flying,
and it was one of THE coolest things I had ever seen.
How do they DO that? I want to do that.
Steal the bacon was abandoned. Quickly.
And I set my sights on those cool girls
doing those flips: Hand, Hand. Foot, Foot.
Hand, Hand. Foot, Foot.
For hours after- days after, everywhere there was enough floor space,
I would attempt this feat – hand, hand; foot, foot – until I was successful.
But that was just the beginning.
I started to experiment with the cartwheel:
tempo, spacing, succession, direction,
left-handed, right-handed, one-handed
(it would take a few years of gymnastics classes
to accomplish the elusive no handed cartwheel; the side aerial!).
Other kids started coming around to ask,
"How do you DO that?"
So, I happily dissected the cartwheel,
a sideways walk into and out of a handstand, to teach them.
By the end of the school year there was a team of us
having cartwheel races,
creating cartwheel ballets,
cartwheeling in unison down the vast wood floor gym
at break-neck speed.