Poem: The Dropbox Near Sunset

I walked an hour to the secure ballot dropbox and back, or thirty minutes each way. Here is a quick poem inspired by the walk. Enjoy, and be sure to vote if you are in the USA and able to do so!

The Dropbox Near Sunset

A procession — beginning home,
my destination a box downtown
where slips of paper decide
who decides the fate of a nation.

Around my feet the spent leaves
curled like bridal confetti
while above the green trees,
crowns dipped in autumnal fire,
bore witness to evening stillness
and the mellow light of day’s retreat.

A route beginning among homes,
giving way to rush-hour streets
trickling with cars, masked dog-walkers,
young runners heaving bare-faced,
circles of young and old sitting
distanced in greenspaces or benches,
and finally the ocean of businesses
encircling the elmless city’s heart,

ending at a box — much smaller
than the cavernous ballot-urn
my imagination had etched for me —
while I circled to avoid two women
unmasked and chatting loudly.

“Take a photo of me!” one said
to the other as they traded cameras
and I pressed back towards sunset.

Across the street upon a grate
lay a dead bird, head bent back,
a gentle breeze tugging chest-down
newly cold with halted breath,
perhaps a casualty of a window’s
illusion of space and escape,
an omen of unfounded hope.

Make a poem of me, the moment said,
and my eyes drank deep of the sidewalk,
the hum of highway-bound cars,
a woman yelling out from her window
while music played below in the fancy
apartment buildings newly-minted downtown,
a surge of humans catching the last moments
before the sun descended and light fled.

The moment passed, the envelope’s
texture and double-sealed firmness
passed on for the deciders, my mind turning
to Athene and the long road beyond
filled-in bubbles on a bright, firm sheet.