#Poem: Man At The Gym

Dancers - Oil on Paper 2009 by Jamie Zubairi

Dancers – Oil on Paper 2009 by Jamie Zubairi

Man At The Gym

a poem by Jamie Zubairi

There’s a new man at the gym
He turned up just before new year
Skinny under his layers
Doesn’t say anything for fear of causing a gust of breath.
I look at him quietly,
We look away, caught.
God he’s shapeless. How can a man be
Both fat and skinny?

Now that it’s April
He’s wearing tighter clothes
There are pale shadows under his chest
Where used to be smooth.
“He’s able to talk to people now”
I say to a guy I’ve got speaking to.
Who laughs and returns to his friends.

When it got too hot
The shorts were out
His legs have made gains
Not that much, don’t be silly
The shoulders more pronounced
SH-OUL-DERS.

He seems like a good bloke.
Please don’t turn out
Like a slippery thing
Greased and reflection-bound.
But who am I to judge?
Now that I see him more clearly –
Defined, by other’s standards.
I walk up to him and smile
Knowing he’s done well
By his own standards,
Knowing there will always be
Those with their arrows nocked
And also their warm embraces
Knowing there will always be
Confidence, restocked,
And the mirror, between us.

Jamie Zubairi 2014

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