The election is over, but we trudge back to the phone bank with our clipboards
and scripts. We can still dial the swing states. North Carolina, Florida, Nevada:
Can we count on you? Have a blesséd evening!As in the last days, no one will answer.Huge room abandoned by an army. Folded banners. Butts float in styrofoam
cups. We had a 93 percent chance.This late, traffic dwindles, you hear the sirens of the city so clearly:
Maimonides, Saint Luke, Methodist. The pulse in the mind. A child in the
opposing tenement howls with laughter, then sobs.Once we had arguments prepared on entitlement reform, Syria, carried income
tax. But the few voices we reached were exhausted. Husband in a truss, son in
solitary. Friend, foe. Static from the cosmos on an empty line.Almost midnight. We dial high school sweethearts, imaginary lovers, dead
parents. Jack, Bobby, Malcolm, Martin, Fred Hampton, Mark Clark.Soft fury of night snow behind high blinds.Ohio! Are you with us?
Copyright © 2018 by D. Nurkse
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
D. Nurkse is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Fall (Knopf, 2002) and Burnt Island (Knopf, 2005). He has received the Whiting Award, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, two grants from the New York State Foundation for the Arts, and other awards. He has also written widely on human rights.
From its inception in prohibition, through depression and war, in prosperity and peace, the Virginia Quarterly Review has been a haven—and home—for the best essayists, fiction writers, and poets, seeking contributors from every section of the United States and abroad. It has not limited itself to any special field. No topic has been alien: literary, public affairs, the arts, history, the economy. If it could be approached through essay or discussion, poetry or prose, VQR has covered it.