Poem: eyes

Source. Artwork by Stephanie Garcia.
Image description: an Asian person wearing a facemask with text above reading 'i am not a virus'.

This month's reader submission comes from MXL from the USA. Their poem is about xenophobia and the Asian-American experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.


if you take a look at me
the first thing you will notice will be
my eyes
no not because they are bluer than the sky
or motley under the light
or beautiful
but because they are small 
and dark 
and disappear into slits when i smile

maybe it’s my eyes 
that made you tug your leather shield closer to your breast 
that made you narrow yours as if you were trying to mock mine 
that made you pull up the mask that was once resting underneath your chin

before you sputtered and cried
because it was 
who took away your beaches and barbers
who tainted your country and set fire to your freedom
who locked you up in your abode of hatred

who made you 
like the virus on the news

maybe it’s my eyes