The Etiquette of Exercise
They line up,
hair pulled into ponytails
sporting short-shorts and spandex,
faces reeking of raw determination,
beads of sweat bubbling beneath their hairlines—
drip, drop, sliding down the sides of their cheeks,
pinched pink in a flush.
They are feverous,
One girl peers an under-eyelash-diagonal-glare of
daggerous eyes to spy on her neighbor,
Are her feet moving faster?
Has she been going farther?
Can I catch up?
I bet she didn’t have a chocolate-cream cheese-covered cupcake after lunch today.
Oh, but I did.
I’ve got to go faster.
I can get him to notice me. (Did he look?
I think he did. The blonde one. And I was only on speed seven—
time to pick it up. Please be looking at me,
and not that mousey, measly mope jogging on my right.)
Gray tee shirts are three shades of sweat
on the other side,
they grimace, they grunt,
creating a soundtrack of cave-man clamor.
One boy with an army buzz of white-blonde
stands behind a fleshy fellow,
following his slow sink, down and up,
down and up again.
“Almost there, dude,”
“Dig in; Dig in,”
“Push through bro, you GOT it,”
And when the meaty one heaves the metal bar
back to its resting place,
he looks at himself in the mirror and sees
a little bulge of the bicep that hadn’t been there before
and smirks, Yeah, that’s right. I know you’re looking at me,
Miss Trying-too-hard On the Treadmill.
But why wouldn’t you?
Damn, check out that definition.
Smack, the blonde friend slaps him
on the back-side.
now spot me.”