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Twas the Night Before the Election

By Betsey Culp
(With apologies to somebody)
Twas the night before the election, when all over town
The speeches were ended, robocallers shut down;
The eagle machines in each polling place,
Hoped that the voters would soon fill the space;
The candidates nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of victory danced in their heads;
And John Arntz in his office, Steven Hill at his desk,
Prayed that tomorrow would not be grotesque,
When out on the street, the silence was broken:
The ruckus could be heard all the way to Hoboken.
I picked up my cellphone and rolled up my sleeve,
Ran to the window to ask them to leave.
The flickering light of a faulty streetlight
Turned cars into boulders and painted curbs white,
When into my view came a traveling circus
Or sixty-six bears dancing lively mazurkas.
The bears were split up into nine separate groups
With colorful signs which they brandished with whoops.
When new ones appeared — first D11 came —
They whistled, and shouted, and called every name;
Now, Bonilla! Now, Grier! Now, Sandoval and Lim!
Run toward the finish with vigor and vim!
On, Medina! On, Silverberg! On, Silverio and Yuen!
Show that you’re upstanding women and men!
As preachers urge, in pursuit of a mission,
So a surge of voices urged coalition:
“With ranked choice voting, that’s where it’s at.”
But brave D11 would have none of that.
Then, in a twinkling, I heard a new sound
Of chuckles, and jokes, and praise all around.
When I turned my head, the reason was clear:
A banner announced D5 was here.
Without an incumbent, and twenty-two strong,
The famed zippered district had to muddle along.
And so did D7, of fine golf and boating,
Where all bets were off, with ranked choice voting.
Of the Presidio and traffic, sang D2 on tour,
While D9 sought housing and help for the poor.
Two parallel lines singing two different ditties,
They might have been living in two different cities.
Next came Peskin, a right rollicking elf,
In front of D3, as if all by himself.
But no, there were others, just one step behind,
Who were hoping to beat him when their votes were combined.
And then, with a sigh, alas and alack!
Along came D1 at the back of the pack,
For the race had grown ugly, in the old-fashioned way,
As when big downtown money still had a say;
One bear in particular was covered with mud,
Encircled by wolves who were after his blood.
But McGoldrick marched proudly, refusing to bend,
And called over his shoulder, “I’ll win in the end.”
The bears capered by in a stately quadrille,
But they stopped to salute at the top of the hill,
And sang out together in one parting note,
“Have a good evening, AND BE SURE TO VOTE!”