Becoming Mr. Olympia 

My mirror and the scale speak in truisms;

my stomach mudslides over my beltline,

my face a pregnant moon pulling the tides.

Too soon to panic, I suck in my growing gut

and place my hands on my hips, suck in wind,

the Mr. Olympia pose in my bathroom, alone.

Only instead of a V, my torso forms an A,

and when there’s a new fad diet, a quick fix—

cutting carbs or glutton or an extremity—

I imagine myself oiled and ripped on a stage,

my penis packaged in a royal blue thong

as I point to my six-pack then my pecks

and flex, smiling so secure with myself,

so sure I’ll never stutter again when I ask

a strange woman if I can buy her a drink.  

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, with his wife and kids. His books include Teaching Metaphors (Sunnyoutside Press), After the Honeymoon(Sunnyoutside Press) Hangover Breakfasts (Bottle of Smoke Press in 2012), Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing in 2013), and My Next Bad Decision(Artistically Declined Press, 2014). Almost Christmas, a collection of short prose pieces, was published by Redneck Press in 2017. Graziano writes a baseball column for Dirty Water Media in Boston. For more information, visit his website: