Family Movie Night: Mr. Universe
We watch the ultra-buff, over-bronzed 
men flex their bodies wearing nothing
but tiny, shiny speedos & a smile.

Their quads gnarled & bulging,
their pecs flexed w/elbows pointed 
out in the ultimate teacup pose

w/teeth awash in whitening as they strain
to hold face muscles in place for the judges
& us at home who rented the VHS tape

alongside other films w/a plot & a score
to underline heightened & tense moments
in a script. Maybe a piano played soft

as the view shifts to lovers on the sofa,
mother & stepfather in an embrace now
after days of not touching or talking

when he moved out after the last fight
about drinking or money or nothing.
The music intensifies now w/flashbacks
 
of him screaming at her while taking the TV, 
the couch & everything else his money bought
while little brother & I stand in the corner

waiting for this part to be over or edited
out from memory like a scene deleted
for theatrical release. In the director’s cut,

the act is there as well the kiss & make up part
where we sit on the floor & gaze at sculpted men
sculpting a type of desire in little brother,

a want for a type of body in place of my own
& mother a love stronger than the men
posing & straining to hold it all together.
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