Ugly Beauty

Adrianne Alvarez-Jackson
2 min readJun 29, 2022


I’ve been wondering lately about this recurring dream.

I’m on the ice making figure eights in my heavy, Riedell boots, the blade cutting precisely. The sound of metal slices through the powdery surface as I skate across the unforgiving sheets below.

I move out of the pattern and grow bold. Now, the wind is flying through my hair, it whips my cheeks. My young girl eyes are wide with longing as I move to take off.

A jump.

I think it was called an Axle and I never once landed it but this time I think I will, I think I will…

I plie’ and spring forward like a snow leopard reaching for its supper. I am in the air spinning once and then that crucial half a turn. Leg wrapped around my jumping leg, arms pulled tight around my forest green, woolen Inga.

As I spin, I catch the scent of ice and my mother. She held me so tightly when she gave me this Inga.

Her olive skin: dense, strong arms, chubby, easy flesh. She’s in every stitch of wool, every knot, every seam. Every perfect cut of material: Cigarettes and Taboo, cigarettes and Taboo, all around me as I jump.

I squeeze my arms in just like coach told me, crushing my blossoming chest, ready to open wide like an ice bud when blade hits the ground. I wonder if mom knew how much that Inga meant to me and how I’d still be thinking about it forty years later on an evening in almost June.

So, cold, and precious: this icy flower.

Perfect circles I make to get to you as I jump and fail, jump and fail again.

Grief is such ugly beauty.



Adrianne Alvarez-Jackson

Adrianne is an artist-educator whose writing explores her offbeat life; its traumas, victories, cultural ambiguities and the intersectionality of it all.