Both my grandfathers were veterans. I grew up in the land of swamp-Yankee town-council democracy.
On Election Day my mother washed your hair
and combed it into a fluffy halo.
She helped you on with your old black coat
and took you down to the school
where I had had kindergarten.
There explaining to the nice man
that you could no longer see
and that she would go in with you
to read the ballot.
You leaned on her arm
shuffling feet that pained you
so badly we had moved you
to the bedroom closest to the bathroom
so you would not have to walk so far.
A bystander wept as my mother helped you forward.
You did not come to adulthood
as I did
standing beside your mother
behind the curtain
lifted up in her arms
to help her pull the big red lever.
Girls didn’t need to learn that
I miss the voting booths we still use in the Northeast. The ones with the curtain and big red lever, like private little temples to Democracy.
Interestingly, electoral-vote dot com suffered a denial of service attack yesterday, while it was showing Kerry with 298 electoral votes. Not, I'm saying that the two things are linked.