The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
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Poem for Wednesday


At the Gym
By Mark Doty


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.


I feel like death and got maybe two hours of sleep last night, but my husband just called to remind me that Lisa is giving a free concert in Rockville in forty minutes. So despite the nearly 100 e-mails in my box, the Trek news that needs updating and the fact that I can't inhale without coughing, I am going. Because sometimes sanity is more important than health, and the work will still be there when I get back.

Apologies if I owe you a letter.
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