Vox Populi

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Angele Ellis: Federal Building

I enter through security as taxpayer,

the needle’s eye of citizenship. Bag on the table,

keys in a plastic container that could hold mail

or explosives. The only way in and out.

I remember with strained nostalgia

the protests of the eighties—

South Africa, Nicaragua, El Salvador,

the sit-ins at congressional offices,

the time we rode up and down the elevators

with our leaflets until the guards nabbed us

and threw us out. And that last time,

the sit-in during Desert Storm,

suspended between freedom and arrest,

swimming in ether like exotic fish

while our friends pressed against the aquarium glass

with hopeful signs

as if we could change history, levitate the building

like Abbie Hoffman tried with the Pentagon.

Now we are lucky to stand unmolested

on the public sidewalk,

the thin edge of the wedge of democracy.

From Arab on Radar (Six Gallery Press). Copyright 2008 Angele Ellis.

One comment on “Angele Ellis: Federal Building

  1. Charlie Brice
    June 26, 2017

    The imagery of the elevator is vivid and packed with meaning. Bravo!!

    Liked by 1 person

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