The Wrestlers

Anuel Rodriguez

Our shirtless bodies collided like sweat-gutted machines

inside of an intimate red cage. But it was only a hotel room

where our limbs formed an ampersand on the mattress we placed

on the floor like the blank page of a book soon to be wrinkled

with dark noises. I’d never grappled with an older man before,

and I didn’t mind that the first words you said to me when I

arrived at your door were, You’re cute. You let me pin you

and I caught my thin breath on your chest. You felt like a

soft polar bear under me as you laughed like I was a playful

brown cub. You called me boy and I called you nothing. The way

you hugged my bones into powdered clay made me afraid that

I’d piss out red the next time I used the toilet. You said you

worked for an art gallery owner and I told you I was a published poet.

You left that room with a purpling black eye and I left like

salty dead meat in the shape of a man. I still keep the pictures

I took with my phone of the deep cherry red bruises your knees

left on my biceps. I never asked you what kind of story you

told your coworkers about your eye when you went back to work.

Sometimes I pretend that we were a Francis Bacon painting

created using old rags and dirty fingers. A violent dream painted

over another violent dream. An amputation of dust covered

by the blurred sound of blood poured straight from the tube.


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