At the Gym

Brandi Sharmek

Bodies move like escalators,

ellipticals glide like synchronized swimmers. 28:32.

Up down, up down, left right, left right.

How does the guy in the blue

sweatshirt withstand this sauna?  Watch

as he circles around us to the tock-tick

 of a counter-clockwise Tuesday. Listen

to the circadian rhythm

of bodies in consonance, bodies in cadence.

Hear the treadmill wheek

 like a guinea pig pining to be fed

by sweat and Gatorade: the salad bar

of missed opportunity. Thighs burn

like the roof of the mouth that couldn’t wait.

Does the girl in pink know that

leaning on the machine is giving power

to the machine? Increase incline. Resist

thighs like overcooked noodles.

Weights chatter like bowling pins.

It’s the start of spring

intramurals. Watch from our balcony

as the red and blue is volleyed.

17:31. Hear the spritz of antiseptic

applied to the machine’s wounds

with a soiled cloth. Cubbies full:

squeaky shoes, warm pants, keys.  Hear

the bowling pins chatter.

What if animals went to the gym?

Wonder this as six screens

display the same news, the same

surgeon, the same team. Does anyone

else get creeped out

by the dude standing, staring

behind the desk? Resolve problems like adults.

Imagine an elephant elevated on

an elliptical.

Read the sign: Monday, clockwise.

Talk in circles, observe

the showcase below. A mix of

wannabes and will-never-bes

swarm the court. Loop them.

Bodies in constant motion, brains

with their own form

of recreation. Think of words to say.

Pretend. See the girl in cut-off.

Read the sign.