A person cried,
because I told them what they said
was racist. They responded
that they try not to say racist
things—that some of their friends
are Black and Hispanic—mainly the ones
they dance with on Saturday nights.
They find a way to bring up
their humanitarian work overseas,
when this conversation
was never about them.
All I wanted was to civilly correct them,
and rather than going about our days,
we debated the differences between
not trying to sound racist
and simply not being racist.
Delvon T. Mattingly, who also goes by D. T. Mattingly, is a fiction writer and poet from Louisville, Kentucky and a PhD student in epidemiology at the University of Michigan. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in literary journals such as Maudlin House, Jellyfish Review, Star 82 Review, and scientific journals such as Anesthesiology. He currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more about his work at http://delvonmattingly.com.