Richie Merrell

I thought of wrestling at the beach as I rinsed Sand from my hair. A coy ploy. My need to touch my friend. Touch a boy. Crouched in the sand, I blurted out: “I’ve been wrestling all my friends. Makes me feel like an Ancient Greek Olympian™” He accepted my challenge, intoxicatinged confidence. A queer coded language. We talked about how Plato learned more than just philosophy from Socrates. Assume the positions. Interfemoral. Feet apart, crouched, poised. You could hear Lake Washington hit the Sand next to us. Wine dark sea. He didn’t make the first move, unsure what to do. He’d never done anything like this. I had. Eromenos teaching Erastes. I ran at him, lifted him, took him to the ground immediately. An inch taller, two years younger. I caught him off guard. I put my leg down behind him to make sure the fall wouldn’t hurt. Sand cushioned a collapsed tangle of persons. Four legs, four arms, two heads. I pinned him to the ground. in full view of our friends. I recoiled from the skin that burned to touch where other eyes could see. Zeus’ thunderbolt. Scrambled to untangle myself and stand again. But he accepted a rematch when I called out to him: “Come on Plato, you’re more than just that big brain.” he was more ready to meet me now. We collided and struggled down to the ground. I pinned him by laying my whole body over his. Parallel images. My eyes were squeezed shut. We stood once more, he wanted to win at least once. I could have put up more of a fight, but I wanted him to win at least once. My knees went out and I fell to my back, another body coming down to drive me further into the Sand. Chthonic. I didn’t look up when he straddled my chest. I didn’t think I was allowed. But I wish I had. There were more times I should have looked. I need to conquer the fear of being seen looking. I missed too much last night just because I was stumbling through with my eyes squeezed shut, hoping for the best. The best came and I wasn’t able to look it in the face. I open my eyes to the sting of shampoo.

Richie Merrell‘s Bio: I’m a transmasculine poet currently living in Seattle, studying history and working as a preschool teacher. My work is informed by my transition journey, my T4T relationship, and historical queerness.