Pre-Dawn Walk

Pre-Dawn Walk     —by Jinny Batterson

A Friday. Halfway through early voting
Days in my suburban North Carolina county.

Yesterday, a group of us election workers
Switched sites from a high-volume
Rec center to a much smaller church
Fellowship hall, part of the county’s
Second tier of early voting sites. 

Work days have been long and intense.
Staff gatherings, rotating assignments,
Nearly constant activity. Yesterday, I’d fallen
Asleep before 9; I awoke before 6.

Not yet light. Quick check of weather app—
Clear, cool enough for a jacket.
A respite from media election hysteria
Seems in order. Instead of the TV, I step outside.
Enough time for a brief walk before work.

In our condo complex, the first
House lights are blinking on.
No traffic. Even when I reach the
Main road, few cars.  A school bus
Lumbers by, rooftop strobe flashing.

The thinnest sliver of a waning moon
Does little to compete with the stars.
Orion, the constellation signaling
Waning heat, rides higher in the dark.

As I return home, the east begins
To pale. Fainter stars wink out.
Orion’s belt is still visible, just. 

A few weeks earlier, I’d posted a favorite
Frost poem on the fridge door as a sanity check:
“…Choose something like a star,
To stay our minds on…”

Now, gathering ingredients for a good
Breakfast, I skim Frost for refreshment, too.
The coming day’s voter encounters feel less daunting–
More calling than chore. Dawn creeps across the sky. 

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