by Abigail Gramig
From her collection entitled Dusting the Piano
I am in Mexico City on a school trip,
I have saved up money for this all year.
This morning I was in a church.
There were beggars around, small children
with smaller children on their backs --
they try to sell me gum.
I have never seen children without shoes before.
They touch my blue jeans,
pull on my shirt with their small brown hands.
My teacher, Mrs. Atkins, says
we shouldn't give the children money,
that they'll never learn anything that way.
When she isn't looking I give them the money
I saved all year.
In the afternoon we see a museum,
Mrs. Atkins is in a shopping mood.
She asks a blind man sitting in the street
"Donde esta el GAP?"
with her Pike county drawl.
Tomorrow afternoon we will lay by the pool in our hotel
and I will go home with sunburn.
My skin, peeling in large sections, off my shoulders and back
is not what makes me uncomfortable on the flight,
it is the small brown hands on my clothes,