My neighbour’s face is blank
driving his SUV like a tank
along our leafy street,
ferrying his boys to school,
proud in their blue-badged
blazers of bought privilege.
My neighbour constructs high walls,
installs security lights, CCTV
to keep the undesirables at bay
and spy on rats and slugs when darkness falls.
In summer he eschews the friendly chats
over roses and rhododendrons, but
via his better half, who leaks and speaks
with us – the enemy – we hear his views.
He has, it seems, no time for politics.
‘Politics is no concern of mine,’ he says,
‘making money is.’
Even on summer days, dressed in shorts,
my neighbour sports an imaginary Kalashnikov.
Just in case, my neighbour says. Just in case.
Once I staged an ambush, shot
a friendly smile his way, held him
at the checkpoint of my female tongue,
talked about community, the beauty of the birdsong
watched his face become
a clenched fist.
Magi Gibson is a Scottish poet with four collections published, including Wild Women of a Certain Age (Chapman 2000). Her work has appeared in Modern Scottish Women Poets (Canongate), Scottish Love Poems (Canongate) and New Writing Scotland. She won the Scotland on Sunday/Women 2000 prize for poetry, and has held three Scottish Arts Council Creative Writing Fellowships. Her work has been translated into several languages and her next collection, Washing Hugh MacDiarmid’s Socks will be out in April 2017 with Luath Publishing.