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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 10: October 2021
Prose Poem: 195 words
By Hedy Habra

Open-Air Roller Skating in Heliopolis


We’d skate in the open-air Oasis cinema rink or the Roxy’s, but later at the Heliolido Sporting Club. We felt the wind ruffling our skirts as we would swirl almost dervish-like, dizzy with the sight of a kaleidoscope of faces gathered around the fence making us feel as though we were star performers as we followed the rhythm of the latest songs. As we circled and circled endlessly, conscious of every pair of eyes following our prowess, piercing our back, quickening our heartbeat. It was as though we felt the rustling of unspoken words draw scenes from the tumult of daydreams making us forget we still wore socks and weren’t yet allowed to wear any makeup.

When, decades later, I took my children to Rollerworld, in Kalamazoo, I was surprised I could still maintain my balance. In that confined space, I felt estranged, almost trapped inside the flashing lights and deafening music. I missed the excitement of being out in the sun with the expectation of being on the outlook for a glance, or a smile, at an age when that was enough to make us dream.


Hedy Habra
Issue 10, October 2021

is a poet, artist, and essayist. She is the author of three poetry collections from Press 53, most recently The Taste of the Earth (2019), Winner of the Silver Nautilus Book Award, Honorable Mention for the Eric Hoffer Book Award, and Finalist for the Best Book Award; Tea in Heliopolis (2013), winner of the Best Book Award; and Under Brushstrokes (2015), which was a finalist for the Best Book Award and the International Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets (Interlink Books, 2013), won the Arab American Book Award’s Honorable Mention and was finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. A sixteen-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the net, and recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Award, her multilingual work appears in numerous journals and anthologies.

Author’s website: https://www.hedyhabra.com/

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