109: My Mother Goes to Vote by Judith Harris

We walked five blocks

to the elementary school,

my mother’s high heels

crunching through playground gravel.

We entered through a side door.


Down the long corridor,

decorated with Halloween masks,

health department safety posters—

we followed the arrows

to the third grade classroom.


My mother stepped alone

into the booth, pulling the curtain behind her.

I could see only the backs of her

calves in crinkled nylons.


A partial vanishing, then reappearing

pocketbook crooked on her elbow,

our mayor’s button pinned to her lapel.

Even then I could see—to choose

is to follow what has already

been decided.


We marched back out

finding a new way back down streets

named for flowers

and accomplished men.

I said their names out loud, as we found


our way home, to the cramped house,

the devoted porch light left on,

the customary meatloaf.

I remember, in the classroom converted

into a voting place—

there were two mothers, conversing,

squeezed into the children’s desk chairs.



The author’s work can be found in the volume, The Bad Secret: Poems.

Does the democratic process and your voice within it feel inspiring and truthful? Or do you sometimes feel that others beyond you are pulling the strings on the world in which you merely reside?

May you live out another beautiful poem in the collection of your life today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

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