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 vote.  

How long she had waited to arrive!  Not just
the lines today, but photo ID and proof of
residence, citizenship test and English
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 before her next move--

A voice penetrated her privacy:
“Any problems, Ma’am?” spoken kindly
but urgently outside the closed curtains.
“No,” she replied, and pushed the last lever--

“Clunk” registered her free vote and opened
the curtains simultaneously.  She noted
the levers were back in their upright positions.

She turned tall and graceful to make her exit.

For my prompt at Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Suffrage
Revised for Marge Piercy May 2017

 My blog poems are rough drafts.  
Please respect my experiment and my copyright.
© 2016 Susan L. Chast


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

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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 ;)

  5. 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...

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

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

  8. "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.

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

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

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

  15. 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!


Thank you for visiting my blog!