Election Day

Not too cold this morning
At the elementary school
But glad I have my scarf.

A musty smell in the auditorium
Like shoes in the closet for ten years
Blue curtain on the stage
Flanked by flags: America, California.
The seal of a distinguished school,

the cafeteria tables like Murphy beds
folded up into the walls so the children have room to play
and practice what they must.

My heart keeps slowing and I remember to breathe
I nearly tear up every ten minutes
It's really happening
Behind 40 people
Who knows their many
backgrounds and stories,
values and choices,
hopes and decisions

My hope is for all my brothers and sisters to remember:
all of us brothers and sisters belong here
We are together. We work together.

The exit sign, the fire escape,
the floor's pale blue tiles, lightly scuffed and glossy,
the wooden base boards.

I remember wondering and dreading, as a child,
if I would forget what it is like to be a child once I'm grown.

Now I'm grown, edging toward my thirties,
in my white shirt for the suffragettes,
in my pantsuit for Ms. Clinton,
waiting to perform the sacred.

We have waded through too much insult and indecency,
with exasperation and patience,
to get to this place. And I love the women
walking away from the booths, with patriotic scarves,
and the pride in the eyes of the elderly folks
pressing stickers to their hearts,

and the signs in nine languages,
and that everyone here is polite and quiet,
though we hear the distant questions of children outside
as they solve their smaller worlds.

I pray these measures pass and bring us closer to justice.
I pray the many women I called for today
will be leading us soon.

I pray for peace through these coming years. 

Katie Ancheta