I’m at the gym reading while walking on a treadmill—
at an incline of 4, the speed is set to 3.5 mph.
The author is talking about sex, should I be reading this in public?
Everyone is staring. They must know. They’re appalled.
Are the words visible through the glare in my glasses?
Is the word SEX plastered across my face? SE in one eye—
X in the other. The conveyor belt of the treadmill two over
diverting my paranoia.
Doesn’t the jogger hear that nauseating noise?
She has headphones on, but so do I. Both of us wearing earbuds.
I’m listening to Mozart. Mellow music.
Is death metal ringing against the sides of her brain?
—Cymbals crashing against her cerebellum—
Sensual screaming so intense the screeching is silenced
In front of me an elliptical is being driven
into the ground by a man in a purple leotard
with a unicorn on the back. In front of him a baking competition
on TV #4. Are we all rivals? The gym our battleground?
Competing just as the people sweating over frosting?
Maybe she endures the frenzied singing only to secure her victory.
I won’t give up. There are 100 pages left of the book after all.
I look down into the page (pg. 239) and a woman is naked,
she’s ready to go again—
he’s trying to catch his breath. I increase the speed to 4 mph.
Dan Leicht, a writer from Rochester NY, often writes poetry as well as fiction, which can be found on his author site. His poetry has previously been published with Canto Magazine and Work Literary Magazine.