When the Automatic Faucet Refuses to Serve Me

Poem by Jason McCall


Maybe it’s been trained to not see
color, so I’m as invisible as the ghosts
balancing this country on their backs.
Maybe it’s frozen
because it doesn’t know what to do
when it’s next to black person, like the girls
who pulled me into basement corners
only to pull back, like the white hands fumbling
at the dial to find the hip-hop station
when I fall into the passenger’s seat.
Maybe it’s simple: this machine is
built to conserve, and it’s not going to waste
water on a stain that can never be cleaned.


Jason McCall (@jasonmccall4) holds an MFA from the University of Miami. He is an Alabama native, and he currently teaches at the University of North Alabama. His collections include Two-Face God; Dear Hero,; Silver; A Man Ain’t Nothin’; Mother, Less Child; and I Can Explain. He and P.J. Williams are co-editors of It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip-Hop

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