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The way men
look at me
is complex
Fascinated and repelled
By the strength
That propels me
When I see
how they look at me
No matter how great
I feel or might have felt
It reminds me why I’m best
Like a lost plague
Or a rare disease
The gray areas
In between
I fill of theirs
I don’t need
When I reached
Forward to hold up
My 300 lb washer
He looked at me
Like I was crazy
girl you gonna break yosself
Then the amazed
Mixed with the respect
In his eyes
A surprise that I didn’t
Keel over or shy away
from the weight
Or the pain of getting crushed
Thumb to wall crunched
And then I was fine
Using my legs
Because my head was done
My arms tired like the rest
Of my whole being
And still I chugged along
Strong like a train
Of the unstoppable kind
A workhorse by trade
Impossibly tough
I shrug it off
They don’t make’ em like me
I’m a limited edition
They call me an atavism
And while it seems
Appealing from the outside
To some looking in
I’m always contending
with difficult prices
Nothing’s free
I’m wheeling and dealing
Negotiating peace
But I saw his admiration
Rise and at the same time
A question in his seasoned face
Matured by the years
And countless mistakes
And I felt like I was looking
At a mirror’s crack looking back
Face cleaved like a Picasso
The uneven surface a reminder
That I’m always too much
Or treated as such
Imperfect but massive
In every way
For any of them close up
I remembered bleakly
Why I deserve this solitude
I’m growing so used to
No matter who I’m with
like training in emotional
Martial arts
iron heart conditioning
To feel untouched
As if learning to feel cold
No matter how warm
It is sitting in the sun
His hands, his smile, his desire
Getting used to
Being loved
Yet feared somewhat
Is akin to being shunned
For the mystery’s depth
Encoded between my legs
Just for a moment
I could pretend
All it is was simple
I basked in the sweat
The aching muscles
Of heavy lifting and moving
Boxes of all my junk
like I was one of them
for a second there
Like a cog in so many moving pieces
In a comforting insignificance
Working alongside the men
But then again not
When my form is all
so clearly Feminine
They can’t forget
What I struggle accept
All the way home
My feelings crowded
Like huddled players
Deciding what’s next
On a too narrow street
Brightly lit by lamps
Taking stock of the cargo
Of thoughts strapped to my back
The long list of to do’s
Game on soon
As soon as the cars go by
But for now
I need to regroup
The conflicts threaten
To split apart
What I’ve worked for
so long and hard
It just crumbles
When it comes to you
And it’s a daily test
of my net strength
To fumble and again
Get right back up
For the next play
Right now I’m just rearranging
Boxes for when I’ll be ready
To let go of my favorite junk
Notions and preconceived judgments
I don’t like to admit to
Open and pointing
Curiosity’s needle
On my seeker’s compass
to where the growing promises
To never end