After an Election



The houses settle back
on their foundations this afternoon
as thin clouds turn
the sky the gray
of the mood now most
campaign signs have been taken down
and we live within a zip code indivisible
pledging our allegiance to
the one-way signs on Fifth and Third
which stand for order in
disruptive times. The occasional prophet
comes knocking on doors, and sometimes
a realtor who wants us
to move, but mostly we are left alone to rue
the way democracy was dazzled
into all the wrong choices. We can’t
be sure who voted for darkness
and who for light, so what remains
is the everyday civility
that masquerades as being cordial
when someone waves
or asks How are you? Only the cats
who come to the front step for food
don’t care which side
we’re on; them and that man
in rags who walks on a sunbeam
each morning
east to west along the street
hand in hand with hunger’s shadow.

David Chorlton
Illustration Nick Victor

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