Greta Ross

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

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