At the Gym
This salt-stain spot marks the place where men lay down their heads, back to the bench, and hoist nothing that need be lifted but some burden they've chosen this time: more reps, more weight, the upward shove of it leaving, collectively, this sign of where we've been: shroud-stain, negative flashed onto the vinyl where we push something unyielding skyward, gaining some power at least over flesh, which goads with desire, and terrifies with frailty. Who could say who's added his heat to the nimbus of our intent, here where we make ourselves: something difficult lifted, pressed or curled, Power over beauty, power over power! Though there's something more tender, beneath our vanity, our will to become objects of desire: we sweat the mark of our presence onto the cloth. Here is some halo the living made together.
From Source by Mark Doty, published by HarperCollins. Copyright © 2002 by Mark Doty. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved.
Date Published: 2002-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/gym