The second time I felt peace

Navy training
over a thousand young men, boys
cooped up except for weekends
never a moment to yourself
in a whirlpool of sex frustration
ego, hormones
mixed with beatings of each other
for the slightest, trivial offence
that energy had to go somewhere
I was volunteered to go clean
shithouse duty
the changing rooms
of visiting football teams
locked me in
with a mop & a broom
y’got half an hour
make it spotless son
I sat for a while
smoked a cigarette
surveyed my kingdom
swung that broom
slipped the mop wall to wall
no noise not a note
‘cept the slop of that mop
me & my breathing
as I watched it dry
that easy afternoon
I think I nodded off
for a minute two
until he unlocked the door
looked in said: that’ll do
sorry I forgot about you
can you do this next week


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