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Yellowstone National Park’s grizzly biologist shares stories, life and his love of bears

Photo by Chuck Haney

Back 40: Ski Tango

Carolyn Pettit Pinet turns skiing into poetry

Written by Carolyn Pettit Pinet  

Carolyn Pettit Pinet

Other Contributions

Back 40: Ski Tango
December 2010


Ahead of me Hardscrabble
cracks knuckles against clouds.

Behind the Bridgers splay
crags in the oystery air.

I move to a tango.
Skis and poles glide, cut, break.

I am partnered by the wind
against whom I tangle, kick.

A flake catches my lash,
blurs tracks and trees.

Snow, manna from heaven,
cascades in a whirling mass:

shredded paper tangos
refigured under foot,

a half-moon, then a twist,
a white, zig-zagging shake.

I bend into the hill,
Push up to DowneyÅfs Butte.

Here tango, snow, rhythm
conjure together as one.

I launch myself off, fly
down vertical twin tracks,

lean backwards, then forwards,
legs bent under torso.

The wind enters me, a lover
I taste, sharp, sweet.

My heart uncurls its fist.
I dance closely embraced.