Resistance Training

Margaret Ross

Summer here tips everything off
color, shades sweating out
where light cuts a white slit
down your damp forehead.
            Glare’s thumbprint

dragged its line of chalkdust,
line of lime. No flesh tone, no tone
recognizable, “hey love
            will you hand me that”
lost voice of mine. It’s dark

at the end of the mind where the palm is
raised, ready to feel out the face of
            who’s here come
to visit me. Could you tell which was your own
if you were asked to touch ten silent faces

in the dark? You nod yours. I skid
my nail along a jaw.
I slick my finger down
            the hot gel drapery inside
a mouth. It’s summer here. But I would

know by feel the braille
of your ash-blue t-shirt’s fading
outline of a shark skull somebody
            sprayed on before the cotton ebbed.
“What are you – ” I’m wearing

tights. “Are you – ”
            I strict my sentences
to match the volume I’m encased by
like a door. Weight is my address,
how far away I live

from disappearance. I have often
knocked there. I turn into your fitness
            room. The occupants with songs
plugged in their ears and foreheads
banded with bright spandex

lie down under free weights’ misassembled scales.
            The balance pans cut from the chains are
welded to the lever-ends, an arm
lifts twenty whispered seconds
down again. Your spine a live horizon.

            “Are you” I’m here. My skin
so wet it slides off like a veil.
Changes colors under different casts
of time. Is litmus to the atmosphere,
screen for the breath circumferenced

by my name. I live in the mind. I wanted
            to live there. The scale is even
harder here to gauge. How large
are we in the changing room
where I stand rubbing in foundation

next to strangers stepping naked
            from the steaming cubicles?
Am I too easy to see? I shade
my cheekbones up, I shade
my cheeks down. I had a person once

you propped up in the host’s
front closet curtained by the static
coats, their pricking at my sides,
I gripped the bar they
            dropped from. I pull the steel bar

on the sliding door and walk through bodies
sealed behind black lycra,
silhouettes at ellipticals. I’ve gone to
have my shadow taken too. It went
            Hi, why don’t you

sit down. Right here.
How old are you. A whole hand. Good.
Sit down. Look there sweetheart
’t move. K, now I turn this on
and trace the outline of your face

            in charcoal. Stay still
for me. The dark part
’s you. There
done. Stand next to me
yes back here, good, now look
how your head goes white again.