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Thursday, February 23, 2023


by Nan Ottenritter


I am always proud when I exit my private polling booth.

To get there, I walk between candidates’ signs,

show I.D., fill out a ballot, watch my paper ballot 

slide into the machine, await its successfully recorded

message, slap an I Voted! decal onto my vest, 

lift my head high, and walk out.


After all... so many worked and died for this democracy.

They work still and will believe until the end.

After all... so many throughout the world cannot

do what I just did.

After all... my father landed on Omaha Beach for this.

After all... forces are at play to bring Ukraine to its knees,

Navalny to his death, and democracy to ruin.


I still believe in us.


After all the many young and spiteful congressmen and women

walk our Capitol’s halls, spewing hate, sucking up greed.

After all profess to understand government, yet have no clue

about how it works, nor possess a will to learn.

After all the verbiage they shout through speeches, they

lack a critical gene that helps them to be critical and think.

They lack a will to listen, a drive to understand, compassion to act.


After all that has been done for me, for us.

After all the forces set upon us to destroy,

how can I not cast my vote, lift my head high,

and think, It doesn’t get any better than this.

Nan Ottenritter is a poet and musician who lives in Richmond, VA. Her works have appeared in the TheNewVerse.News, Still Point Arts Quarterly, Artemis Journals, Poets Reading the News, Life in 10 Minutes, Poetry Society of Virginia Anthologies, and As You Were: The Military Review. Her 2021 chapbook Eleanor, Speak is available through Finishing Line Press and Amazon. Nan teaches writing, performs, and is a member of the Poetry Society of Virginia. She voted in Virginia on Tuesday.