The Old Men Of The Locker Room

Sauna-dry heat
Slapping wet feet on tile floors
Steamy, running showers
The men’s locker room
It hasn’t been completely dry here for years

They sit casually in one corner
half dressed, half naked old men, once
generals and plumbers
policemen and teachers
bankers and truck drivers
Old growth trees of a climax forest
proud and sound yet knowing time is short

They will tell you they come to workout
to keep their hearts strong
to lubricate old bones
But like many men they are not introspective or self aware
They come for the camaraderie of other men
and the remembrance of lost youth long sacrificed
for careers
for family
for expectations and obligations

No longer chiseled young Adonises
their contours are soft and rounded
slumping shoulders
broad bellies
bodies worn away
Young, stony mountains
eroded now to sloping hills and valleys

They are comfortable here
enjoying the freedom of nakedness
without self-consciousness
No longer subject to strutting and posing
to sly comparative glances
or the tyrannies of perfect uniforms
new work boots, or this year’s dress suit
Just honorable old men
elegant and dignified
knowing finally that not every moment
is a mountain to climb
a crisis to meet
a challenge to win

They engage in quiet conversations
of good fishing holes
great vacations
and children’s careers
They bask in the comfort of old tales
and of truths discovered too late
enjoying the companionship of equals

Unlike younger men they are in no hurry to leave
There are no “hot dates”
little league games,
or deadlines
They dress slowly, reluctantly
donning tattered uniforms
worn work boots
frayed coats and ties
And walk slowly out
to face those few obligations that yet remain

And looking forward to their next workout

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