A trip to a gym where Darren worked that raised some unexpected emotions in me, plus an exercise featuring a poem with an interesting title as a model, equals this. That title ended up being the model for the first line of the second stanza.
How to Work It Out
Mingled sweat and metal on metal smells like
A pickup engine overheating. There are
Mirrors on all the walls. I don’t belong here.
A poet will fall silent if you take her to the gym.
It’s as baffling to her as biting into a sweet green
Apple, all the healthy young bodies — sleek or
Solid forms, lovely as fire opals — and the floor
Mats that recall to her the trauma of tumbling
Classes when she lacked the coordination and
The language to control and elucidate her falls,
So everything ended in an undifferentiated thud.
I break the silence in verse, a passive act of
Forgiveness for everyone who ever laughed, like
Peeling away the bitter skins of grapes and leaving
The sweet, translucent fruits heaped in a bowl.