My Mother Goes to Vote
By Judith Harris
We walked five blocks
to the elementary school,
my mother’s high heels
crunching through playground gravel.
We entered through a side door.
Down the long corridor,
decorated with Halloween masks,
health department safety posters—
we followed the arrows
to the third grade classroom.
My mother stepped alone
into the booth, pulling the curtain behind her.
I could see only the backs of her
calves in crinkled nylons.
A partial vanishing, then reappearing
pocketbook crooked on her elbow,
our mayor’s button pinned to her lapel.
Even then I could see—to choose
is to follow what has already
We marched back out
finding a new way back down streets
named for flowers
and accomplished men.
I said their names out loud, as we found
our way home, to the cramped house,
the devoted porch light left on,
the customary meatloaf.
I remember, in the classroom converted
into a voting place—
there were two mothers, conversing,
squeezed into the children’s desk chairs.
It's been kind of a weird Tuesday around here, in part because Maryland held its primary election, so at lunchtime we walked over to vote at our kids' elementary school, where we were surprised to be handed paper ballots because this time around, to avoid miscounts, our state is having voters mark paper and then scan them so there will be a physical record if something goes wrong with the machines. It was a good election day for me, since the candidate I really want to replace Barbara Mikulski in the Senate won the Democratic nomination, and I'm delighted that Clinton did so well, too.
It was also nice to walk through the neighborhood at the height of azalea season, when there's so much color everywhere -- the last of the cherry and apple blossoms, the first of the irises, many tulips, some peonies. The rest of my day was mostly work and chores until dinnertime, which ended up being late so we ate while watching The Flash, which was pretty good (Bechdel pass!). Then we also watched Agents of SHIELD, which continues to be wildly uneven (too many characters and not my favorites talking) before the season finale of Limitless, which had better come back next season! Brookside animals: