“3.27.2009” by Shaffy Moeel


  I spent most of the day feeling sorry for myself. Maybe it was waiting three hours in court for my client’s case to be called. Idly watching the hands of the clock edge around and around at a snail’s pace. One poor brown person after another standing before the Court being handed down a sentence of months, mostly years, for being born unlucky. So many tears were shed in court today and I had this strange thought: What would the soup of all these tears taste like? As sour as the future of each poor person branded a felon for life in a country where your worth as a human being centers around your employability. Or unexpectedly sweet, like my client’s smile, assuring me before she faced the judge that no matter what, you did a great job, I’m glad you’re my lawyer. I spent most of the day feeling sorry for all of us. The judge said my client, who is 32 raising three kids alone, didn’t deserve a break. She didn’t deserve a break because she’s from Compton, because she wears her eyeliner too thick, because she’s not skinny, because her black roots show through her dyed blonde hair, because she outlines her lips with brown lip liner, because although she goes by Maggie, her name is Margarita, because she’s poor. Well, the judge didn’t say it exactly that way, but, you know. The prosecutor lied in court today. He said that each defendant’s case is evaluated on a case-by-case basis before deals are given. He said that each person’s life circumstances are taken into account before an agreement will be offered. I almost laughed out loud. Then I blinked back tears. Felt sorry for all of us again. I was walking to jail and told the homeless lady who asked for change that I didn’t have any. She punched me in the arm. I looked at her. Did that just happen? As if she could read my mind she said, Yes I did it. Call the cops. I kept walking and protected her when the man walking toward me yelled did she touch you?? No, I said. Not even close.