Fundamentals – by ANNA WALL

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*{In 1968, the USSR took the gold medal in the women’s team gymnastics. The winning team had been forced by the coaches to become pregnant and then terminate each pregnancy at around 10 weeks to ensure that their bodies were at their most elastic and supple- if a gymnast did not have a boyfriend, the coaches impregnated them}*




You shared a dream

a seed, of a life

more lithe, this lie

has me fluid, like wind waved water

a son, a daughter-

who will never breathe

or blink into this world to see

parallel bars or

cannula scars.


This leotard hugs my still warm breasts

hot with the sting of emptiness.

Your myopic vision, eyes on the prize

detours across my lips,

my thighs

I despise the act

yet swallow the fact

my body, newly pliable

defies the limits of your skies.


Tightness bending

chalk mending

strapped fingers

extraction lingers

you groom, assume

that we are hungry like you

we vault

your fault

and win for ourselves,

yet never stop losing.


Anneghem Wall is a therapist, researcher and mental health trainer, who also enjoys writing things too. Anneghem is interested in discourses of identity, mental health and distress and how these are constructed & experienced.

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