I Got My Guns at Al’s by Jennifer Lagier

Made famous by Elmore Leonard,
it’s the gym
where professional boxers trained;
parolees and welter weights
hefted, grimaced and groaned.

They sneered at my puny poundage,
a flat-chested, pissed-off divorcee,
the only woman in sight, silently
slamming 200 pounds straight up,
with muscular legs.

I watched them watching me,
homies I recognized
from the county honor farm
and my bookmobile route,
muscle-bound Aryans
who talked tough from
behind a curling iron,
sold real estate or insurance by days.

They showed me photos
of women bodybuilders,
wondered if I was a dyke,
but never asked.

We all had reasons, routines
and a common goal:
invulnerability.

Jen-2016
Jennifer Lagier has published twelve books and in literary magazines, taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Newest books: Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Harbingers (Blue Light Press). Forthcoming chapbook:, Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Website: http://jlagier.net
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