In many places Tuesday was primary election day. We got up and went to city hall in our village.

Sitting at the table were the same welcoming faces, volunteers who year after year guide us through the same process. A father and daughter sat next to each other, greeted us and checked to make sure we were all set to vote. And vote we did.

It’s one of those times when I take a pen, fill in a little circle beside a hopeful and feel that moment mattering. I took my ballot over to the same welcoming man who has done the same exiting task for umpteen years. He made sure all was correct, and pointed me to the machine that would take my ballot. As always, I picked up a piece of candy, put on my “I voted” sticker, then went to insert my ballot.

It got stuck. A woman who, too, has been there every time said, “Take it out of the folder. I won’t look.” I took it out, inserted it, and this time the machine took it. Then with Julie we walked into the day.

Here’s a little touch of our village–


The innkeeper sits by the door, elbows
resting for the day on the oak desk.

She says, “Yes, looks like a day of rain.
Coffee’s hot,” to the early risers,

most pouring two cups then heading
back to their rooms. She likes to think

they are staying here with her. She
does her best to make their pause

between here and there pleasant.
“The gulls don’t care,” she smiles

when a wife and husband say
the weather’s bad. She knows how to

listen to the rain dripping from the eaves,
watch it hit the leaves of the basswood

outside the window to her left, feel
the soft wool of the blanket on her lap.

–Jack Ridl

The time for the reading at The Red Dock on Tuesday, August 14 is 6:30. Music prior.

Time to celebrate the following:

Kristin Brace’s collection Fence, Patio, Blessed Virgin with cover by Meridith Ridl is now available from Finishing Line Press.

Katie Kalisz’s Quiet Woman will be released in January.

Former student Thomas Allbaugh has published the novel Apocalypse TV.

Tropical Landscape with Ten Hummingbirds by Greg Rappleye is coming soon from Dos Madres Press.

Again, let me know of any new works. I sure don’t want to leave out anyone.

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Visit Roan & Black and Cabbages & Kings and Reader’s World to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

And, of course, click here to visit, check out what Jack’s been up to, maybe say hi!


8 thoughts on “Innkeeper

    • So glad to hear, Kathleen. That’s what the poem tries to do–go past
      description and into creating the experience.
      And on this drizzly day! That was not planned. : )
      Thanks so much.

  1. Jack, It is so kind and big-hearted of you to frequently mention publications, achievements, etc. of residents and former students. Tom

    Sent from my iPhone


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