Attack of the Five-Foot-Four Woman

by | Aug 15, 2023 | Poetry

Rows of clipboards.

In truth, only five foot three and a half,
_____and attack, too, a bit of a stretch,

although I do wield an oversized clipboard,
_____8 ½ by 14-inch petitions,

and—here, at my local farmers’ market—
_____it does feel somewhat brave,

deploying my rapid-fire Hello—would you
_____like to sign a ballot initiative

to make voting more accessible for citizens
_____in Michigan?—asking anyone

who seems interested, including that guy,
_____a minute ago, who marched over

in his Love It or Leave It American flag
_____baseball cap, who shot back

at me: No way should voting be easy!
_____He must have seen my smile

grow large as I turned to a young woman,
_____smiling back, as I aimed

the petition to face her. And now I grip
_____the clipboard tight, prop it up

on my forearms, balance it between us,
_____watch her—slowly, carefully pen

her name, as though signing up for duty
_____in the middle of a battlefield.

Photo by Schezar, used and adapted under CC.

About The Author


Christine Rhein is the author of Wild Flight, a winner of the Walt McDonald Book Prize in Poetry (Texas Tech University Press). Her poems have appeared in many journals, including The Gettysburg Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and The Southern Review, and have been selected for Best New Poets and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. A former automotive engineer, Christine lives in Brighton, Michigan.