“Change, they all desire change, a radiant new face, or a world awash in truth”

Martha Hollander, poet, professor, art historian


Election Night

The first Tuesday in this warm November
brushes Long Island in a last caress
before winter repels our communities
like a storm door slamming on a windy day.
Gentle enough, in fact, for the beach.
Here to beckon to the Indian sunset
are joggers with their superb, joyful dogs,
a few rebels beating the commute,
and a pair of lovers murmuring to the crunch
of sand in the folds of their heavy leather jackets.
Change, they all desire change, a radiant
new face, or a world awash in truth
like the wet shore starving for the waves
that break, rush forward and collapse on it,
shimmering green and gold, salty, spent.
Everyone will still be home by nine.
But as they step behind their curtains tonight,
who can begrudge them their defining acts
of longing, stern hope, audacity, contempt?
The sun gives way to the penetrating lamp
of the local polling place. Citizens all,
they move their hands over the humble, battered
body of the nation, while their fingers
make full utterance: I want, I want.

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