Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Standing in Line at the Polls

My dear readers, again I apologize for the long duration between my previous post and this one.  Time gets away from me.  To make it up to you I wrote three free verse poems in response to the two hours I spent waiting in line to cast my vote this morning.  Enjoy, and tell me which one is your favorite!

Poem One
Standing in line at the polls
all of my senses are alerted to the autumnal season.
My eyes drink in the vivid reds and golds
on the trees
and on the ground.
The clean crisp scent of freshly cruched leaves tickles my nose.
The chill of the early morning causes
my skin to pucker
and my muscles to shiver.
I taste sweet cider on my tongue
as it dances
out of my travel mug
and into my eager waiting mouth.
My ears perk up at the piercing whine of a leafblower.
The season is all around me and yet
my hurried life has not paused
to absorb it.
Until now.
Now I have no choice but to experience
the fullness of fall.

Poem Two
Standing in line at the polls
I glimpse a man.
His comb-over gives me pause.
It starts at the very back of his head,
creeps up over the crown of his skull,
sweeps down on the sides to tickle the tops of his ears,
and swirls together in two curled pieces
lying on his forehead under a sheen of hairspray
as though they are unaware of their too-distant origins.


Poem Three
Standing in line at the polls
I take the opportunity to subtly examine my neighbors.

The two men, not much older than me.
I saw them walking to the polls together,
their pleated slacks, leather shoes,
matching light blue dress shirts and zip-up sweatshirts
marking them as young professionals.
Their emptry ring fingers signify that they have not yet
settled down.
Their voices will be heard.

Henry, my 60-year-old illiterate neighbor
who will be voting for the first time in his life.
For once his need for assistance -
which competes with his pride -
will not keep him away.
His voice will be heard.

The middle school teacher.
She has taught home economics
and conflict management
for the past 33 years at the same school.
There is a staff development meeting this morning
but she, the senior-most member of the staff,
is standing in line
drinking now-cold coffee.
Her voice will be heard.

Mrs. Gray.  The neighborhood matriarch.
When she exits the polls
almost everyone in line greets her deferentially by name.
She is respected for the mere dignity and duration of her life.
Alone, canvassing the neighborhood in the past months,
she has registered hundreds to vote.
Her voice will be heard.

And me - old enough to vote for a President for the first time.
Naive, optimistic, trying to do my part.
After two hours in line
my voice will be heard too.

Posted by Emily MacLeod on 11/04 at 09:08 PM

<< Back to main