Maxine Beneba Clarke

so we’ll go to the polls

        lined round winter street corners

pushy leafleteers

        shoving how-tos in our hands


we’ll elbow past smiling placards

        and straight-talking spruikers

still wearied with the bickering

        of campaign attack ads


and they’ll broadcast first photos

        of bill and scott voting

flanked by their young families

        in we’re-humble-folk clothes


as workers trail their fingers

        down long address columns

wielding black pen and ruler

        to strike out our names


we’ll go cardboard-boothed

        to the primary schools

community centres

        and the churches to boot


and friendly neighbours

        ideologically opposed

will avert their eyes

        as they fold up their votes


some swayed by tax breaks

        with resignation in their sighs

others nobly honouring

        offshore lives


this one’s for the climate

        and the stolen land

that voter says the liberals

        just forced her hand


that one’s nationals know the country

        she’s who-cares-who-wins

he just wants penny wong

        as the foreign minister


and school parents will coin-change

        at poll baking sales

as choc-crackle-smeared kids

        run amuck at play


then on the way out

        there’s the sausage sizzle

white bred, sauce, hold the onion

        (with an abbott-joke giggle)


and we’re all heading home

        to turn the box on

crack open a cold one

        or champers with mum


as we watch the seats falling

        to the blue or the red


and hope good old antony

                            calls before bed

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of The Hate Race and Foreign Soil. She is a winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry.

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