I could have been a prodigy
if I’d grown up in Upper Saxony,
in my father’s small town with big
lakes and forests and seven aunts,
all widowed in the war and
eager to teach me to ski, langlauf
and skate on ice by the age of three.
But that would mean rewriting history.
I learned at Streatham Arena,
an unsteady teenager, shuffling along
to the Wurlitzer Juke Box, always cold
and cautious, clinging on to the boards.
Now, each winter, I join the crowds
at Somerset House and get by as well
as anyone else, tipsy on Glühwein.
But I’ve never done a back flip or
a spin or a cantilever or a triple lutz.