Planet Fitness

He holds his jawline and confronts himself as is. In the locker room mirror, not even the bravest lie remains. The aging male body as root cellar: the shock of buttocks slack as burlap. Cellulite like dimpled potato. Brassica varieties of skin tags, mercy, tubular, dangling from their weird stalks that one fears to snip.

He hoists his gut with both hands to weigh it, heavy as a crate of onions.

My brother, you are seen. It's no relief to be done with physical beauty. Some men can let go. Certain others, you and I, never stop measuring. Amen.

He used to do squats in his basement, he tells me. Zits on his shoulders. Protein shakes and desiccated liver tablets. A hundred push-ups a day. Bicep curls in the mirror he kept on the back of his bedroom door. Superman veins in his forearms.


You know? he says.

I know, I say.

Everything was yes then, right? he says.

Everything, I say.

Women at your feet?

I wake up from dreams where my hair is still thick, I say.  

We used to be perfect, he says. Now?

All the violins broken, I say.

What we wouldn't give, he says.

Bird Report

Monday. No birds. Didn’t step foot outside. Don't remember looking outside. High Malaise Warning. Find an interior room with no windows. Crouch as low as possible. Cover your head.