A Note From the Wet Bandits, by Gina Myers

I’ve been sick
for two weeks
but America
has been sick
its whole life.
America will
always choose
a rich white kid
over two guys
living in their van.
We were victims
of Reagan’s trickle-
down economics,
victims of layoffs,
the move to overseas
manufacturing,
& home foreclosures.
Victims of a society
where profit is
more important
than people &
there’s no respect
for the working,
no dignity in work.
And victims too
of that goddamn kid
who struck me
in the face
with a hot iron.
And what happened
next? America
laughed. Laughed
in our faces.
They said we didn’t
deserve to get ours.
And that’s all we
wanted really--
to step up & take
a little piece of the pie.
And how would it
have mattered?
That family could
replace everything
we would have
taken. Their
insurance policy
a comfort to keep
them warm, tucked
into their fancy beds
while we try
to sleep in a van
without heat.
And so I’m asking
here, America,
who is the criminal?
Who is the laughing
stock? And how
do you sleep at night?

--------------------------------------

Gina Myers is the author of two full-length poetry collections, A MODEL YEAR (Coconut Books, 2009) and HOLD IT DOWN (Coconut Books, 2013), as well as numerous chapbooks. Originally from Saginaw, MI, she now lives in Philadelphia where she handmakes books for Lame House Press and works in media communications.

[ed. note: over the next two weeks, we’ll be catching up with characters from beloved Christmas movies, learning how their lives have turned out after the cameras stopped rolling. We’ve invited some of our favorite writers to share these stories.]