Motives on Display

The iconic Macy’s store
in downtown Philadelphia, home
of Santa and the Charles Dickens
Christmas Village, is closed today.
Tomorrow, too. Its trains are quiet. Its doors,
draped in yellow tape instead of the traditional
red, green, and blue, are locked indefinitely.

Earlier this week, a man with a long history
of retail thefts and burglary attempted
to remove, without paying, a collection of hats
from the property.

After a confrontation, the store’s unarmed
guards, fresh on the job, retrieved the merchandise
and granted mercy, in the spirit of the holiday.

The man walked away only to return thirteen
minutes later wielding a knife and a plan.
He stole, again. This time a life,
with his hands.

He was caught fleeing on a nearby train. Video
footage of his arrest hit the airways. His head
remained uncovered, hat-free, for all to see.

I cried as the news broke. The headlines
flooded my mobile phone. Then, my email
dinged like a train coming into the station –

Macy’s, with some automated holiday cheer,
up to 75% off on everything.

The price of a life, on display.

About the Poem

Writing as a way to honor the victims and process the utter failure of our systems.

About the Author

Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, works, and writes in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania.

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