I would not allow myself hope.
Not after before.
But I did think I would feel—
perhaps not joy—
but relief, reprieve
if it turned out this way.

But I don’t feel any of that.

All I can feel is grief.
An unrelenting ache.
Awash in grief.

I’d thought that after knowing,
after experiencing
the reality of the last four years,
more hearts would change

and they might not choose him.
So many people chose him.
Not the majority, but too many.

Even though
I haven’t believed
for a very long time that America
(at least the United States part)
was ever truly great,
I wanted to believe
the people saying it was
would at least make a
play for fairness
and upholding her institutions.

But too many turn blind eye
after blind eye,
ignoring harm and corruption,
lies and death.

Dismissing pain
and alarms
like a parent
when their child cried and
said she did not want to
“play” with her abuser,
only to be sent back
again and again

because listening,
validating her fears,
keeping her safe,
might have made them look bad.

Or not in control.

And there are people who fear loss of control
more than they love their daughters.
People who fear loss of power
more than they love their neighbors.

There are people
who will double-down on an idol they worship
while convincing themselves
they are worshiping the God of love.

And I do not know
how to bridge the chasm
between my heart and theirs.
I’m staying curious about possibilities,
but I do not yet know.

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