“Grand Illusion” by Michael Estabrook

Michael Estabrook


After 50 years of responsible adulthood
careers and family, education and financial planning
I am pumping iron again
pressing pulling pushing
through bench presses curls pull-downs
shrugs squats deadlifts
sets and reps, warm-ups and cool-downs
calluses strained hamstrings cold packs heating pads
lifting belts wrist straps muscle magazines
my wife scratching her head biting her tongue …
and all for what? Seriously what?
To realize my illusion that somehow
I can stop time reverse it
even returning to being 17 once more
so I can experience again the mysterious flush
of first love, the power of athletic prowess
the grandeur of intellectual discovery
the vigorous confidence of self-realization
and mastery over all things earthly and beyond.

from Rattle #60, Summer 2018
Tribute to Athlete Poets


Michael Estabrook: “I’ve pursued athletics my whole life from being on the swim team in college and taking kung fu at age 60. Never a professional athlete, but in one form or another, sports have always been an integral part of who I am: swimming, gymnastics, weightlifting, baseball, karate, Kung fu, tai chi, even yoga! Setting physical goals, and working hard to attain them, is critical to me feeling good about myself. In particular, feeling stronger produces greater energy and confidence, not only in athletics but in life in general, including writing poetry.”

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