The Ladies of Democracy

At 100 N. Jefferson St in Green Bay,

City Hall: the ladies of democracy

all have their backs turned when I walk in

for early voting, attending

to the copy machine, the phones, the trash,

as though it’s an ordinary day

with the office in order.

Finally one of them, my age, with bangs,

takes my driver’s license and quizzes me

about my address and

hands me a ballot and an envelope

and sends me into the hall

where plastic cubicles line the walls.

I use a scratchy ball point pen

to darken the ovals of democracy,

little storm clouds on paper sails

that I tuck into the envelope, and with my DNA

lick it sealed, handing it over to the

lady of democracy who is coming out

of the bathroom, drying her hands on her pants,

saying to me “I’ll take that, hon,”

like a waitress at a Friday night fish fry,

about to go home and crack a beer,

as if the world

will carry on

without her.

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