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Poetry #512
(published November 11, 2010)
Election Night
by Leah Mueller
The choice was easy,
it was either hope or the pit
and we chose elevation.
The sky seemed closer then
or perhaps we were taller,
not stooped from weight
of concrete survival.
It was summer in November,
seventy degrees, warm enough
for victory barbeques,
warm enough to stand for hours
on Michigan Avenue.
Cars circled the block endlessly
drunken women on the roofs,
waving flags, that for the first time
didn't belong to the opposition.
Cell phone updates
announced the sweep of states
one after another after another
until there came a point
when there was no need to count,
the race was already won.
It was at that moment
when the crowd finally moved forward
with the fervor of a penned dog,
an animal that had been caged for years.
We stood in a field in Grant Park
in front of an enormous screen,
the loser conceded gracefully,
the winner stood behind bulletproof glass.
Nothing would ever be so clear again,
the glass became caked with dirt,
as we always knew it would.
Still, it was good to forget
our nihilism, our strange belief
that none of it belonged to us,
that we didn't deserve it anyway.
Though we paraded in our shirtsleeves
it wouldn't be more than a week
until the winter coats came out of the closet.
We must have sensed this,
to have given up so easily.
We conceded defeat, without grace
as if defeat was our birthright.
We lay down our slogan-covered banners,
went back to our homes and locked the doors,
numbly returned to our day jobs,
our televisions, our computers, and our cars,
as if we had never gone anywhere.

Leah Mueller is a frequent contributor to this fair publication; she lives and writes feverishly in Aurora, IL, where she struggles valiantly to remain hopeful in light of the current political situation.

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e e cummings
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