On November 7th, I began writing a poem about a woman I met in a hospital waiting room that morning. Energetic, glad, and eighty-six, Nancy talked about great coffee, shelter dogs, and her son. I didn’t finish the poem that day because too many images and ideas about it were bouncing in my mind – Nancy’s snow white hair, the silver sequins on her blouse, a childhood prayer, and all that blue she was wearing. I needed to let the draft of the poem be a while and return to it another day. It is December 3rd and I have not looked at the poem. After November 8th, it is difficult for me to endow anything I write with a sense of joy and Nancy seemed to me to be all about joy.
Like many other Americans, I am in mourning for the country I thought I lived in. I have not watched television news since 2 am, November 9th when only four additional electoral votes were needed by the Republican nominee. Except for Maryland and Virginia, every southern state went to him. I live in a part of the South where people still preface a woman’s first name with “Miss” when they say it. Every time someone calls me “Miss Barbara” I feel I’ve been transported to the antebellum era or the set of an old Bette Davis movie but there is nothing nostalgic about an unfinished country.
It is difficult for me to write when friends and family members I thought I knew revealed through their vote for the Republican huckster who they really are. And I wonder how Nancy, dear Nancy voted.