X Days Since the Gym Membership Lapsed

how much is in a number is an aggrandized revelation, it’s something but it’s not much.
to sit with that number imagined as weights,
each day a disc sliding off the end of the bar that’s slipped from the rack and pinned you,
slowly relieving the pressure on your chest with each calendar tick,
there’s another injury to be made in fighting that bar off, better to sit and rest
and say nothing when there’s nothing productive or positive to be said.
an action taken to hide deceit is louder than crashing barbells anyway.
weightlifting is one thing, animosity is another.

how much is in a number is not nearly as much the second go around either, despite face value,
maybe that’s what’s made easier this recovery period,
a callus is formed to protect the body from the next drop and
my skin is already pretty thick but anyone who’s split a callus knows
it still stings.
it’s worse when you trusted the spotter to have your back,
but it’s nothing special to be another statistic
for everyone in these Nikes to be the routine problem
seems like a revelation of a common denominator, I’d suppose that’s something.

I have practiced strict discipline to not look toward that gymnasium since the new year’s start,
an opposite to the standard resolution. Though it feels quite resolved to me.

Balloons Flying High

If courage is
pushing back at the harrowing heartbeat pull
I am a hair tugging lion in the path of a tornado
I have never been so tormented by my own feet
walking in two directions
fiercely seeking some independence
but hoping you’ll stick around for the ride
find me in September’s tall faded grass breathing
it all in and waiting for a storm to turn
this lovely autumn palate to a horse of a different color;
we’re fifty miles into the country side
between the cows and corn and Tracy Chapman
all I want is to reach across the dashboard
kill the engine and confess I have no idea what I’m doing
talk me out of this
if the butt of the joke is commitment I’ve always been the punchline
I don’t know how not to fear being the fool
but I’ve never wanted this with anyone before you
so put em up
help fight off this twirl of terror in my stomach
tell me the twister is just a side effect from years of running in circles
tell me I can put my up feet and kick off my shoes
tell me we’re no other place than home

Labor Day on Lake Desquietude

I’m beholden by a scar that freckles
for the reminder of the sun and such corporeal frailty
markers of moments of change, stacking
pebbles to give thanks, soft whispers through dawn steam
subdued qualm, overdue calm
crisp wind from the horizon brings leaves across the reservoir.

It’s somewhere in the uncanny valley
past the trenches of familiarity and feign
a vain path I imagine would hemorrhage, bandaged by a vice
device drugs of ultimate detachment. The energy it takes
to turn on a machine turns off the self first
all by which we’ve known has changed as fiction forbode.

The thousand dots of damage, surface scuffs screaming age
adorn a breathing being between worlds, woman worn
razed, rebuilt, returned. A substance powered in a lab
and pressed into a pocketbook can hide any blemish
what’s to be done about their other engineered exports,
selfish as commodity as excuse.

Launch Pad

Bird by bird the sky is leaving.
P. Lawler.

The smile is a quick thing to catch in its departure
always a sort of tennis match with toy rackets and pleasantry birdies
that feather shuttle has to fall from the nest tree sometime
and scuttle away before the weather drops again
sweaters just won’t cut it this time, rain boots
are more utility than a homecoming parade rileing support
the storms keep adding extra knuckles to my hands
so the quill she gave me doesn’t tickle pink anymore
it sits in a drawer under a window the high
schoolers walk past in their team colors
the toothy grins flying back and forth
among them almost softens the ache of the wisdom
tooth I ought to do something about. A tree is turning late
at the end of the road. The nest branch in hand is a knee jerk from dust.