19 July 2016

Inside the Voting Booth

University at Buffalo voting booth.jpg
An American voting booth. Photo from the U at Buffalo (2009)

Harried and hot, she finally entered
the voting booth and quickly pressed levers
for her choices.  She paused before the last
lever that entered her free vote.  How long
she had waited to arrive!  Not just lines
today, but photo ID and proof of
residence, citizenship test and Eng-
lish classes after years of exile and
insecurity.  She placed one tired hand
on the cold machine’s grey edge and she sighed,
inhaled and sighed again, a moment’s peace
and pride energizing her to move when
a voice penetrated her private space,
“Any problems, Ma’am?” spoken kindly
but urgently outside the closed curtains.
“No,” she replied.  She pushed the last lever
registering her vote and opening
the curtains simultaneously.  She
noticed the levers now in their upright
positions, turned tall and made her exit.

This morning I added haiku, making the poem into a haibun of sorts: 

Stand and be counted
gestured the lake to the tree
then bend and kiss me.

All the world's our stage
and we will play fully
before we exit.

 My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.

© 2016 Susan L. Chast


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh you took us right into the voting booth. I doubt casting a vote has ever been more important than this time.

Gail said...

Last night I voted, I went back twice to check. My vote was marked incorrectly. I had to change it twice before it showed the correct vote. Just a reminder for those who vote electronically...

A proud moment in your story.

thotpurge said...

So powerful is that right to vote... but sometimes the choices are just not good enough.

Jae Rose said...

I prefer the lake and the tree - but sadly the 'real' world requires a vote in order to try ad make it a better place - your photo and the booth made me think of the wizard of Oz - all big and scary...until you look closer and take control - and therein lies one of the benefits of being able to vote i suppose ;)

Sumana Roy said...

what a vivid picture, i could see the lady exercising her right :) & of course a lovely haibun...yes we will play fully before our exit...

Myrna R. said...

What a feeling it must have been, to vote for the first time. Wish we had the same feeling nowadays.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh I LOVE the haiku............I too prefer the lake and tree to the human doings going on these days. Smiles.

piano warm said...

"lever that entered her free vote. How long"

Wow. What a great line break. I'd never considered that it could come to a point at which we might have to pay in order to vote. That's completely possible. Scary.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Yes, it does matter to vote! I like the deliberations that take place during these elections.

Mama Zen said...

I love the haiku that you added! Really completes the picture.

Old Egg said...

Absolutely beautiful. I remember my first time of voting and the pride in being counted as an adult; how much more for her after perhaps years of oppression and disenfranchisement.

Julian said...

I too, remember my first vote, but for one being elevated from having no voting voice, well I couldn't imagaine the anticipation and probable elation too. Great piece.

Panchali said...

Wow. That sounds like a safe voting system in your part.There can't even be the whiff of impropriety.Great piece, Susan!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

The right to vote, a right that many natural-born citizens take for granted, is something that many immigrants cherish.

Nicholas V said...

I think only people who have been denied the right of free and secret voting fully realise how important this is. Your poem highlights this, Susan. Well-penned!