The Boy in The Men’s Locker Room
The boy in the men’s locker room tries not to stare
as I strip off my clothes.
How big, how hairy and how old I look.
I remember being a boy
enrolled in lessons, signed up for swim team,
sharing the showers with men.
If I had asked, I am certain my father
could have answered all my questions.
But I learned not to stare before I learned how to ask.
Who stares back from my father’s mirror?
When I look in one, I know whom I see.
So small, so young, and so shy.
He does not recognize me.
Both of us try not to stare.
Vincent Peloso teaches at the College of the Redwoods, Eureka, CA. A regular participant of the Lost Coast Writers’ Retreat, from 1994 to 2008, he produced and hosted The Mad River Anthology, a twice-monthly poetry program, on KHSU radio. In 1999, he was a California Poets and Writers Writer in Residence at the Redwood Writers Center in Eureka where he led the Bus Poster Project. From 1994-1999, he helped coordinate the reading series at the Jambalaya Club, Arcata, CA. His own poems have appeared in many small literary magazines and journals. A manuscript of his work was the first runner-up for the 2011 Bordighera Poetry Prize. He lives in Fortuna with his wife and dog.