If this emptiness were all that was left
I would spend the rest of my life reading
paranoid fantasies late into the night.
Instead of going out early to see the leaves
of the cherry trees turn a creamy peach
I would read every night till three the words of the hero
who rarely stepped out of the Sixth Arrondissement
of Paris, a place I happen to know quite well.
I would drink cocoa and fall under the spell of a clash
between fascists and the Muslim Brotherhood
the critics call satire. But I’m pretty sure
the writer believes far more in his dark story
of veiled women, cowardly professors, conspiracies,
than he believes in me, his American reader,
a middle-aged woman in the suburbs. This morning
I regret losing myself in his tale. Dew has already dried
from the late blooming roses. My face sags. I shower,
and accept that my thoughts are unlikely
to persuade anyone. Dependably sane
and despicably naïve, I start my car, drive
to the Frederick Senior Citizens’ Center
to cast my ballot during early voting.