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(Mexican man)

by Corey Hutchins

I walked by him with a light air of disdain
as a mask for my unfashionable curiosity and pity.
A heart-wrenchingly beautiful Mexican man,
a boy whose skin the sun craved to seduce with its embracing heat,
Was crouched in front of the coffee shop,
picking up with working hands pieces of plastic and wire.
Everyone walked past him without a second glance,
if they had given him a first.
The manager sternly instructed him to use the bathroom quickly
because they were closing when he finally raised himself and stumbled in.
But I secretly loved his chestnut skin
as I quietly sipped my coffee
And wished I hadn’t looked at him like I had before
for the sake of my friend’s judgment.

Corey Hutchins recently completed her master’s degree in Renaissance literature from the University of Edinburgh and is living and working in Plano, Texas, as volunteer coordinator for the North Texas Food Bank. Her poetry has been published by Windmill, Shinshi, and a handful of stones. About this poem, she says, “I live in Texas, and this particular piece was inspired by the ambivalent relationship a lot of people around here have with the growing Hispanic population. This is someone’s first shameful realization of her own hidden racism.” 

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