For the Ski Jump at Canada Olympic Park, Calgary

1 December 2014

You grew into your destiny
in the city’s northwest, overlooking
a gas station, the KOA, a few acreages maybe
on the earliest suggestions of foothills,
we hardly remember what that was like.
It was before I was born into
what I think of as my life.

Development has flooded the scene,
Victory Christian Church Complex venting
emissions, a warehouse vaguely Bauhaus,
reservoir of modern open homeplans
risen nearly to your base.
Each time I return to the same place

it’s different. The adjacent new
community of Crestmont tries to act natural
leaning on the hill, rife with claims, wearing
last year’s colours in its awkward
final construction phase. In 1988
some people who’ve bought its houses
weren’t yet alive. For them

you might as well be a product
of erosion. A natural event, without promise,
defined according to what is most durable
about you. Does it matter to us
if we’re outlived by a minute
or a thousand years? I’m not saying it should.

You wandered away from insignia,
from the party of the symbolic imagination
and no one noticed. Hung with ads now,
the odd corporate zipline. Tourists
on the observation platform observe
the accelerating ritual of supply
and demand. A view makes us feel young.

Ideal conditions are a memory that pains
even a Finn. Competitors and their equipment
have evolved, the old ratios are untenable.
You’ve outlived your design.
Would need to be retrofitted for safety
and who has that kind of time.

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