Encounter at Pilates

A slight frisson, to meet my old boss here
like this: stripped of his power-suited armor,
ready to yield his flesh to the Reformer,
its springs uptight as Puritans, its sheer
towers and ropes stern as the Inquisition.
    Tense pleasantries ensue. We find
        our neutral-spine position.

Here are our heretic bodies, mortified
for their lost strictness, softening into flab.
Love-handles. Paunches. Mired still in the pride
that will be broken on these racks, we grab
their knuckle-whitening rigor like a prize.
    (Gaze front and center, we avoid
        each other's guarded eyes.)

A holy discipline: Know what you know
straight-faced and tight-lipped, practicing denial.
The buzzer saves us from the time of trial;
we suffer, and we shower, and we go
in peace and rumpled street clothes. With their touch
    comes dignity. We make believe
        we havenít seen too much.

Maryann Corbett

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Maryann Corbett would be pleased to hear them.