“Ticketed,” “Speckled” and “Hello, Instructor”


Late for work, I left my wallet, its gray
color a perfect match for the counter.
Guilty of excessive speed, with no way
to clear my name, I began to flounder.

With no cash and no options to make bail,
Who knew of the horrors that would be mine.
A day turned to weeks in the county jail,
despite handcuffs and shackles, I’d be fine.

Breathe in fast, suck it up, he had his pick.
Dropping to the floor, I could take no more.
His shoe met my gut. Punched. Beaten. Kicked.
Bruised ribs, open toilets, a constant roar.

Eyes swollen, from tears or bruising, I’d never know.
Ten years out, my sleep is haunted by each blow.


I had a banana today. The first in a long while.

I’ve seen them, lying on the counter.

Slightly bent. Ripened, speckled skin.

Somehow, they rarely seem appealing.

This one was good, though. An unexpected surprise.

Sort of like the good I know I have in me.

If others ever stopped long enough to look

they might be surprised, too.

I’ve heard bananas are nutritious. Packed with vitamins.

Sources of strength and potential.

I’ve got to think forward, peel back the gloom.

The darkness makes doing so pointless.

I might get out. Then it would matter.

A second chance. Like the mottled fruit.

Maybe someone will grab my file. Give me a closer look.

We rarely get redo’s. Another shot.

Life could be so different.

The banana had some darks spots.

But it was unspoiled on the inside. That’s me.

My potential. Always is, I think.

Before my dark spots become all that is left.

Hello, Instructor

Hello, Instructor,

Even though I barely got a C in your course,

I learned a lot. I want to personally

thank you, the reason being, at the start of

this course my roommate served

me with a restraining order. She claimed I assaulted her,

which is a lie. Anyhow, I decided to fight it. I knew

I had to. I wrote a letter to the courts. I’m not a writer,

as you know. I had no choice. My fingers, they trembled

as I typed. In my letter, I shared my side

of the story. My argument. I made a case. My first, I think.

Today, I submitted my letter. I met with the legal

assistant to check it out. And she told me I did

an outstanding job. I felt so good.

I know I’ve caused you trouble. Being

late and all. So, I wanted to thank you for

what you taught me in your course. You

sure did become a lifesaver for me.

About the Author

Jennifer Schneider

Jen Schneider is an educator, attorney, and writer. She lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Philadelphia. Recent work appears in The Popular Culture Studies Journal, unstamatic, Zingara Poetry Review, Streetlight Magazine, Chaleur Magazine, LSE Review of Books, and other literary and scholarly journals.

Read more work by Jennifer Schneider.