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Joy at the Polls

Sixteen hours as a first time poll clerk
Threw me into a loop, just could not believe.
Working with a team of four caring soldiers
The captain, Efficiency Supreme.
7 am. Here they come
Transforming the school hall’s power
Picture perfect portraits lining up to sign
Everyone in their own way
Make that precious time.
Three piece suits, tattered jeans
High heel shoes, make the scene
As the nation’s drama unfolds
To exercise a right, so keen.
A joke, a smile, a shake and may be a hug
Evidence of the rare, small city love.
Names, places, numbers lined up
There they go, to cast their vote.
In the booth secluded from all
Each mind wields the pen into ballot cards.
Here a mother struggles with an infant at her side.
There a son waits patiently as the ancient takes her time.
Many of those who have paid life’s dues, leaning on canes
Slowly walk in as I see history written in their pains.
Even the youth prone to fritter with time
Marches proudly in to stake his mind.
Many of them overjoyed at the turnout
Leave with a nod that speaks of delight.
Each one who stepped out of the door
A victor, no race, really for him, even though.
8 pm. The doors close
Work went on in a solemn mode
The silence, indicating the weight of our roles.
Wonderful were the hours of not caring for who or what one was
Only a function to be served, meticulous and fast.
Coming home, looking back, relief from a debt
Discharged humbly and well to the nation at large.
Being a part of this process made me feel
For the time I became a vital cell
In the Skeletal Being of this land.
“The last hope for man.”
Wise words once said to me
By a loved and gentle man.

Vasanti Jayaswal
Petaluma
Nov. 2 2010