Working Out

today I flexed my man muscles

so hard   my shirt detonated and I finally forgot

how mean my dad was       all is forgiven

all is strong       my hands are callused

as seashells   my skin thick as rhino hide

throw anything at me and I’ll lift it

with the insane strength of a mother

saving her child beneath a wreckage of cars

I walk sideways through doors like a crab

my body bulked up with shakes      the best part

of my day is throwing a month’s worth of wages

into the blender and hitting the on switch

it’s loud enough that no one can hear

your crying over the sound of it      I think

that’s the point      I drink my lunch

I tear the old-self down   build a new-self

where the towering devastation once stood

when I rest   my mind does reps of our last

conversation   each bad thought

building like lactic acid in the brain

how awful it is to hold onto negativity

when someone says   I never want to see you again

a child somewhere loses their eyesight

James Giddings, Sheffield

James Giddings is a poet based in Sheffield. He has a pamphlet 'Everything is Scripted' which is published by Templar Poetry.

James may not have won this competition, but he once won a plush Pokemon on a claw machine at Skegness Arcades, so arguably, still a winner.