Cul­ti­vat­ing Mass

The Iowa Review - - GRAHAM BARNHART -

Let the peace­ful young men work their bis and tris.

Let’s not be­grudge them their beach mus­cle.

This is not bit­ter­ness. Please, let them never imag­ine their Clean and Press

is a ca­su­alty raised up and over a Humvee’s up-ar­mor.

Let them never know a body weighs more un­con­scious

or con­sider that bar­bells are built to be lifted, our bod­ies to lie down.

To­day I can dead­lift four-oh-five. When I can move four-ten

that will not stop a bul­let or the over­pres­sure of a bomb

flood­ing some tight­ened space, never mind the shrap­nel and heat ca­reen­ing through that rapid bloat rip­ping—

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