There are no Filipinos in Mississippi



but the new bartender has suspicions
about me. He considers:

maybe it’s the new moon
nostrils, the rounded shape

of my face, or the way I look
at him, wondering, too. Certain

sweetness trickles down my glass
as he pulls away from the tap,

his hands steady like brown boys
on skateboards, like my brother

when he has something to say.
I hold out my credit card,

a late invitation. Ocampo,
he reads, as if it’s the easiest thing

he’s said all day. Then we’re laughing
at each other—it’s Thursday,

and the night is still ours
to kick through. We aren’t worried

about our elbows, knees, or parents
stalking the cul-de-sac, shouting

for us to come home.

Noreen Ocampo