In the Women’s Locker Room – Carolyn Martin

Without a thought, we slough off bathing suits and caps
and kick them away from the shower’s heat.
Nothing’s left between soap and our aprons of fat,
thinning head- and pubic hair, exhausted breasts.

We know each other well
and the husband who can’t find his way back home,
the son who failed at suicide-by-cop,
the boss who made us kneel.

This morning we debate Golden Girls reruns:
from Dorothy’s designer clothes
to what gets more laughs:
Rose’s naiveté or Blanche’s sluttiness.
We wish we were Sophia-sharp
with her tart put-downs and Picture this… .

Rather than grousing about the morning news,
we committed months ago to this ritual:
a swim, a shower, a cheer for the camaraderie
that let’s us be who we are. No fear
of tears or scars. No holding back.

We haven’t grabbed our towels yet
when three high school goddesses prance by.
Bikinied, svelte, and glorious, they freeze –
hands-over-mouths horrified –
and can barely bare to look.

We wave them smiles and somehow know –
perhaps from decades of growing wise –
no matter how fast or far they flee,
nothing – not prom dates, scholarships,
or first-place trophies – will erase this scene.
We dry off. They run the other way.

DSC06720 - Version 2From Assistant Professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin has journeyed from New Jersey to Oregon to discover Douglas firs, months of rain, and dry summers. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in publications throughout North America and the UK and third collection, Thin Places, was released by Kelsay Books in 2017.