Election Day

By David Gullette

Featured Art: An Election Ball by George Cruikshank

What dragged me out of sleep was a nightmare about chaos:
I was trapped in rising water, and some idiot had lost the key
that would free the hatch or gridwork, the woven net of chains
in which I roared like a beached sea creature, but

I groped in the ship’s belly only to find
mis-mitred joints, screws without threads, seams oozing caulk,
and behind the last partition a cabal of mutinous carpenters
pissed at me for discovering flaws that were after all

clearly within the province of their fallen craft,
spelled out in terms precise on a typed bid
I somehow couldn’t find, rummage as I might
in Silver’s seachest, and even in the light of the real day,

the crows scattered off-key-cawing as I pushed out the door:
they knew my mind was unforgiving hornets,
they could smell a man disorder had enraged
to a cluster of snarling buckshot,

and the people of the city shrank back
as I strode toward the Capitol, chanting
a mantra vengeful and Sicilian, sixguns and grenades
clanking against my polished chainmail vest.


David Gullette was a founding editor of Ploughshares. He has published two books about revolutionary poetry in Nicaragua. His work has also appeared in Third Coast, Denver Quarterly, New England Review, among others. He teaches English at Simmons College in Boston and is literary director of The Poets’ Theatre.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s