Author's Note: January marks a new year and perhaps a new beginning for the U.S and for us. To mark the occasion, "Recounting the Vote" speaks of fears and "System Restore" of hope. The latter can also be found in The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems (Truth Serum Press) and is included in In the Muddle of the Night, co-written by Betsy Mars, to be published by Arroyo Seco Press.
Recounting the Vote
These days the sun goes down too soon and the leaves come as waves and settle in puddles so pretty we want to drag our feet as we did once, on our way to vote with mom, who reminds us we’ll ruin our school-shoes, and wasn’t she right? Now, no longer our frivolous former selves, heedless of the approaching night, we lift our feet and chide ourselves for all we’ve wanted—just a little more light. Still we do nothing to slow time’s passing, stop the sun as it falls into the trees, end another day, thank the almighty’s penchant for providing and letting us along for the ride. Years later, and still we pull the curtain closed and choose like innocents— then always arrive sort of nowhere, except for this odd moment we buy the myth whole, the imagined peace and quiet of our lives. Still, there are people out beyond this grammar school gym— 70 million, by last count—convinced we’re so wrong, and some eager to do us harm—our feuding kin. Try as we might to stay open to possibility— a new world, promised and maybe now delivered, they wait for the sun to go down, disguised as the shadows of trees, Cossacks who follow us home. The slow clomping of their horses on cobblestone makes a throbbing sound.
A feature in Microsoft Windows that allows the user to revert their computer's state . . . to that of a previous point in time, which can be used to recover from system malfunctions or other problems. Given the rate of decay— memory, word-recall, such a small percentage of what we’ve loved remains intact, even as we look in the mirror and examine the lines on the graph that is our face, or study photos of who we’ve been before parts had been removed and then the body stitched back together though never again made truly whole. No wonder we’ve come to rely on System Restore to find that one place from the great and false imagined past where we can settle and promise ourselves— and everyone we’ve ever loved— that this time we’ll try so much harder to make everything right.
Originally published in Sheila-Na-Gig Online
©2021 Alan Walowitz
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