Election Day


This autumn morning with the birds waking up
and the leaves changing is Election Day. I meet
Jane Trichter on the downtown subway and discuss
Henry's upset. Her skin is soft especially her cheeks
and she is intelligent and sensitive. The subway riders
do not recognize their representative.

All day, at the office. I accomplish nothing substantive
but I keep the aides and interns working
and cheerful. On Tuesdays there is always a wave
of constituent complaints, by telephone. One woman's
Volkswagon is towed and the police break in
to get it out of gear. Do they have that right,
can they tow even though no sign said Tow Away Zone?

It is an interesting question but I try to avoid
answering it. The woman persists and succeeds
in committing me.

The people at the office want to bomb Iran. A few Americans
held hostage and therefore many innocent women and children
pay the postage. It may be good classical logic to hold responsible
the whole society for the acts of a few, however, then
I must begin to expect the bomb and the white cloud that waits.
Apocalyptic visions are popular again
but we are more likely to thrash the earth to within an inch of its life
than scorch it to charred rock.

Corner of Church and Chambers,
German tourist's language, accent repels me
although I wasn't alive 45 years ago
and many sweet, great Germans opposed the crazy Nazis
but lately I've read Primo Levi's If Not Now, When?,
seen William Holden in "The Counterfeit Traitor",
have followed the argument started by revisionists
who say the Nazi atrocities never happened.

War brought many shopkeepers, bookkeepers close to their earth,
weather, seasons, death.
I see daily life as low-intensity warfare
as my father, the World War II vet, did.
Off to work we go. What is war?
Population control, mother of invention, diversion
from the work of making life permanent.

Today is Election Day and because it's a day off
for most municipal employees, the City Hall area
has been quiet and easy to work in. Henry and Jane
hold a press conference on teenage alcoholism.
Leslie, the other aide, who I'd like to draw
the stockings and clothes off of and feel her whole body
with mine, goes home with her mother, leaving me
standing by my desk with my briefcase at the end
of Election Day.


Copyright 2007 by Robert Ronnow.