Five Dollars and Forty-Seven Cents

by Kayla Snider

Ma’am, why must you insist on being exact?
It would be easier to pull out the plastic and
get on with it.
Those people behind you are
waiting as you dig in your wallet
for five dollars and forty-seven freaking cents.

It just makes no sense
to insist on being exquisitely exact,
rummaging through your unkempt wallet
when me and
all those grocery shoppers in my lengthy line are
waiting for you to find it.

Just to make it
worse, you don’t have the sense
to realize you are
the very exact
reason the line has tripled in size, and
now you say you brought in the wrong wallet.

The wrong wallet?
I see a debit card, will you use it?
You’re wasting my time and
I itch for you to have the five dollars and those damn forty-seven cents.
Why does it have to be exact?
You are

the worst customer, yes you are.
I want to tell you to take your “wrong” wallet,
the change that has to be exact,
and shove it-
all five dollars and forty-seven cents!
I know you have the money on your card, and

you’re choosing to waste our time and
continue to inspect every inch. You are
NOT going to find forty-seven cents
in that damn wallet.
Face it,
you can’t always be so perfectly exact.

If you don't take the card from that wallet, and
forget about paying with your exact five dollars and forty-seven cents,
you are going to see me absolutely lose it.

back to University & College Poetry Prizes