In the line of fire
She is the different other –
she can tell from the sidesteps
of avoidance in the street
where no one walks too close
for a chance brush to be mistaken.
She knows she is a suspect parcel
addressed and stamped
by the stare of others, hears
in herself the tone-break of fear
that sits constant in the knowing
a midnight doorbell will wake
a father to run for water
to douse once more a posted fire.
A man stands in the shadows
watching the sway of her burqa
cut slices from the street,
breathes hate for this otherness
and waits for her to open a door
to mark which house to torch that night.
In the line of fire by Greta Ross was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2019) judged by Terry Jones