he side-eyes

the mirror
sits up
gently flexes to see his veins
of the coveted gains
he catches his own gaze
still not far enough
from where he used to be
he fixates on weight
that is not there 
but he sees it
still the boy he used to be
is what he thinks he needs
he believes
his confidence is tied 
to his shape
his weight
his size
to all their replies
and so he tries
to run from where he used to be
“I’m up some pounds today” 
he says unconsciously  
I smile 
because I know what he sees
I feel what he means
but when I look at him
it’s not what I see
I refrain from saying so
because he’ll brush it off
and say he knows
he claims
simply trying to be the best he can be
He gets a thrill
from the competition
I don’t blame him
I know well the paths
his thoughts are on
I’ve lived the way he thinks
and I don’t know what to say 
to a man afraid
of where he used to be
I don’t know what to say
his thoughts are so loud
I’d be drowned out anyway
so I silently glance in the mirror at the man 
he is dissatisfied
he shifts his gaze to me 
I don’t speak 
but in my eyes
can he see
no matter his
his weight
his size
he is nothing less
than extraordinary