A Cold vs. Cancer

Unfocused thoughts vacillate between
mucus and tired eyes, looking at the
world wondering what it thinks of my
red nose, slight cough, imperfection of
clogged ears, making sound seem far
away. I try to embrace this present
that aches slightly with longing for
the past or future, far from the now of
Do I have a fever?
Face flushed, obsessed with what ifs.
What if this lasts until Monday?
Until Tuesday?
What if I’m permanently ill?
So many are, in cancer wards reading
words about my cold, laughing.

At The Gym

they look in the large mirror,
at biceps or red faces huffing,
breathing during squats or lunges,
shouldered weights pressing
gravity, reps into struggling flesh,

trick a body into staying young,
aging less, iron lifting medicine
like swallowing Omega-3 pills
to keep it all going. They worry
about who might be watching

contours, smooth, hard, flabby,
sagging skin or calves that pop.
They stay indoors listening to loud
music staring at reflections wanting
to halt time, be bigger, be stronger.

As if it were so simple, forgetting
that real strength is invisible, it dwells
immeasurable, unphotographable.
But for them it is easier to put it on
Instagram, pretend, pretend, pretend.