the men are weeping in the gym

The men are weeping in the gym 

using the hand dryer to cover 

their sobs     their hearts have grown too big 

for their chests   their chests have grown too big 

for their shirts     they are dressed like kids 

who have forgotten their games kit 

they are crying in the toilet 

and because they have built themselves 

as statues this must mean that God 

has entered them     they are wringing 

their faces like sweat towels 

in the sink     their veins are about 

to burst their banks      they are flooding 

out of themselves onto the tiles 

they have turned water into protein shakes 

they have got too close to the mirrors 

they have got too close to the glass 

and now they are laying 

in the broken pools of their own faces 

the lines of them!     At the   decline press 

the bicep curl        waiting     staring 

straight ahead       swearing that the wetness 

on their cheeks is perspiration 

that the words they mutter as they lift 

are meaningless      that they feel 

nothing when the muscle tears itself 

from itself    that they don’t hear 

the thousands of tiny fracturings 

needed to build something stronger 

From physical (Jonathan Cape, 2015), © Andrew McMillan 2015, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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