Going to the Polls

(i was going to send this as a 2nd poem to Hal prize but I don’t feel it’s ready. is it too plain?)

Going to the Polls  

Mother drove us to John Marshall School
in her 1950 gray Plymouth, Lizzy. 
We entered the tiled gymnasium. 
Her name was checked off the list by a poll worker, 

 mother was handed a white paper ballot, took my hand, 
as we walked to a row of wooden booths. 
A navy, cotton curtain covered the front of each booth. 

As she pulled the dark drape aside, I saw a shelf, 
and a pencil fastened to a long white a string. 
She made me stand outside the voting booth 

drawing the curtain closed behind her. 
She emphasized voting was by secret ballot, 
I was not allowed to look, 
even though I was too young to read. 

At age ninety-one in her retirement community, 
when absentee ballots were brought to the dining room, 
she was first up, ready to vote -- by secret ballot. 
Her table mates grumbled, we’re too old, 

we don’t care anymore. We aren’t voting. 
Mother bristled, explained why they should.  
Active for decades in League of Women Voters,  
she always studied the candidates,  
exercised her right, left her mark.