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Poetry

Robert Fillman

Robert Fillman is the author of the chapbook November Weather Spell (Main Street Rag, 2019). His poems have appeared in The Hollins Critic, Paterson Literary Review, Poet Lore, Salamander, Spoon River Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and others. His criticism has appeared in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, The College Language Association Journal, and The Explicator. He currently teaches at Kutztown University, where he is a member of the English and Professional Writing departments. His debut full-length collection, House Bird, will be published by Terrapin Books in 2022. www.robertfillman.com

CONFIDENCE MAN

After tossing my duffel bag
on the bench, I cinch the drawstring
to my sweatpants. And that is when
I remember the locker room
at the college: the sting of bleach,
the rhythm of slamming metal
doors, guys stepping out of showers
in towels, that long wall of white
urinals, each man evenly
spaced, holding himself, head down, not
saying a word, the loud whooshing
spray from a flush, my big brother
stretching beside me in his loose
tank-top and knee-length tennis shorts.
I hear him snickering as he
elbows me in the ribs while I
bend at the hips, Hey, here he comes,
‘Naked Guy,’ and I look to see
his thick head of white hair, still wet,
that seemed to brag to us younger
guys, his whole body glistening
as he strides out from the shower
like some minor god. How I’d kill
to have such courage, every inch
exposed, my eyes trying not to
linger on his shape, the brown age-
spots, trying not to think about
how those wrinkles and slack skin lines
are more vivid, more distinctive
with every tense step, every slap
of foot against ceramic tile—
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