The Stair Master (Working Out, at Home)

On his stepper, sweating off the carbs
again, for the sake of slim hips: as if
bushwhacking through undergrowth
or trudging five miles    each way,
every day, for water          and finding
some brush      maybe
                                           his legs shorter
than the Masai women’s he once saw
on the savannah,        but plunging
with each downstroke
                                   as if this wasn’t
just exercise to shrink love handles
but his daily proof of discipline
while glancing at the reading rack,
seeing the reproductions:
Goya’s Disasters of War
or scenes of Old Kyoto
                                        with the shoguns
seated in their painted postures

shedding those reluctant calories
(thighs and knees still OK),
coming at last to the breathless
cool-down, the march      his feet treading
at lowest resistance        posture erect
hands swaying free of the support rails
becoming to himself            high, almost stationary