Like a Leper in a Beauty Contest by Jennifer Lagier

Camille pumps iron
at the Wellness Center
three times a week.
Wears headphones
to extinguish
Fox News commentators,
Rush Limbaugh,
Bill O’Reilly,
red faced and yelling
from all four TV’s.
Cranks up Lady Gaga
when the muscular
paramilitary guy
with racist tattoos
occupies a
nearby lifecycle.
Demands attention
as he rants,
recites lists
of who should
be exterminated,
deported or jailed.
Then invites her
out for a drink.
By the end
of her workout,
she is exhausted,
worn out from
the effort of
biting her tongue.

Jennifer Lagier has published ten books and in literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Forthcoming books: Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Website:

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