I filled out my absentee ballot, mailed it in from one divided country to another, accompanied by the necessary verifying statements, careful not to commit accidental voter fraud, to pretend I was someone else, to vote while dead, or employ any other tactic intended to undermine democracy in the Divided States of America. Across the sea voters marched in the streets, shouting Stop the Count or Count the Vote. “The people need to make a difference,” said a protester on the evening news, and after the race was called (though the defeated candidate refused to concede, his supporters screeching accusations across the internet) a CNN commentator wept, saying “character matters, being a good person matters, the character of the country matters.” Later I went outside and examined the sky shared by us all— its fabric rent by the lingering blood moon, that orange orb looming over a world splintered beyond recognition, though for that reason all the more familiar—conscious of the divided homelands shaping my fractured wholeness, my body split, then doubled by childbirth, my soul struck to sparks multiplied beyond counting. On voting day 2020 Delia Garces, age 107, headed to the voting booth, unafraid of Covid. A Dominican immigrant who’d never missed an election, she’d taught 7 kids, 19 grandkids, 40 great grandkids, 34 great great grandkids, and a great great great grandchild to always do the right thing. “Vote for the best,” she urged, then cast her own vote, a spark of light in a darkness closing in.
Lisa Suhair Majaj is the author of Geographies of Light (2008 Del Sol Press Poetry Prize winner). Her poetry was displayed in the exhibit Aftermath: The Fallout of War – America and the Middle East, Harn Museum of Art, 2016. A Palestinian-American, she lives in Cyprus.
Header photo by Leigh Prather, courtesy Shutterstock.