I remember 1990.

7 years old, misspent youth in a leotard

gym muggy with the heat of June;

my arm fracturing as I fall from uneven bars

a cast all summer

metal pins in my elbow

and I remember pressure, omnipresent pressure

to train despite the pain and not complain.


I remember 1996.

13 years old, the Magnificent Seven,

the detritus of Communist Bloc gymnastics

about to snatch the Gold

from the deserving hands of American democracy.

I remember the one with the voice like helium

ankle injured, neurons screaming inaudibly

as she ran, the one-footed vault of a hero

but let’s not pretend that she consented.


I remember 2020

37 years old, recovering anorexic.

Simone Biles a wonder of physics

and Larry Nassar behind bars.

Bela and Martha gone to pasture,

but leaving the regime behind;

Old habits die hard,

everyone loves a winner.

And we wonder why

they end up broken.


# # #

Shannon Frost Greenstein resides in Philadelphia with her children, soulmate, and cats. She is the author of More., a forthcoming poetry collection from Wild Pressed Books. Shannon is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, a Contributing Editor for Barren Magazine, and a former Ph.D. candidate in Continental Philosophy. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, X-R-A-Y Lit Mag, Cabinet of Heed, Ellipsis Zine, Lunate Fiction, trampset, and elsewhere. Follow Shannon at shannonfrostgreenstein.com or on Twitter at @mrsgreenstein. She comes up when you Google her.