A Bag of Hands




Mather Schneider

« 2017 Rattle Chapbook Prize Selection »

A Bag of Hands by Mather SchneiderWhen Mather Schneider met Josie she was an illegal immigrant from Mexico working at McDonald’s in Tucson and he was a cab driver who went to McDonald’s to buy coffee each day. One day she poured his coffee, then placed a small piece of paper over his money and slid it back to him on the counter. With that gesture she gave him a reason to get up in the morning. She also gave him more trouble than he wanted, more bliss than he could have imagined, and a coupon for a free Egg McMuffin.

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Praise for A Bag of Hands

This twelve-poem, thirty-one-page collection layers a cross-border love story, battling the absurdities of immigration policy, into a hope-giving romance that illuminates daily epiphanies. Economic and minimal, while sweeping the micro into the macro, Schneider’s writing lands somewhere between a Tom Waits’s lyric sung by a ranchero who has read Bukowski, and a Californian rom-com. Avoiding the possible pitfalls of cliché, such as the white American as savior complex; the bitter, working class, underdog syndrome; or sappy melodrama, A Bag of Hands holds up ignorance and love side by side, leaving a heart-rendering optimistic aftertaste.
—DM O’Connor, on NewPages

I love the poems in this contest-winning chapbook. They’re all about Mather’s life as an American cab driver married to an illegal immigrant from Mexico. He writes about their love, her struggle to stay in the country, his passengers, flat tires, bigotry, and a bag of severed hands found in Mexico. The poems are easy to read but deceptively powerful.
—Sue Fagalde Lick, in Goodreads

Sample Poems

•“A Bag of Hands” in the Adelaide
•“Chasing the Green Card” in Rusty Truck
•“Hot Iron” in Rattle online

Other Poems

• “Our Morning Train” in Rattle #53
• “The Roofers” in Rattle #46
• “Free-Form Bolero” in Rattle #43
• “The Mermaid of South Mark Road” in Rattle #38
• “Kite Weather” in Rattle #35
• “Between Us and It” in Rattle #32

About the Author

Mather SchneiderMather Schneider was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1970. He attended several colleges but never attained a degree. After living in Washington State, he moved to Tucson, Arizona, in 1997, where he married a Mexican woman and began traveling in Mexico. Schneider has worked many jobs and for many years drove a taxi. He has published several hundred poems and stories, and is author of four full-length collections, most recently Prickly from New York Quarterly Books.


Cover art by Mather Schneider

Author photo by Mather Schneider

ISBN: 978-1-931307-36-9
Cover price: $7.00
Chapbook: 32 pages
Size: 6″ x 9″