© By Gráinne Tobin

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The doorbell chimes its four suburban notes,
A tall shadow shifts in frosted glass.
In their new house she hardly psues to wonder
If this might be the one
Everybody hopes will never come to them.
Round here, expect a load
Of firewood, sacks of spuds for sale,
A neighbour’s charity raffle.

The man is smiling hesitantly
Under his sepia-tinted moustache.
She looks past him for the farm van
And sees he’s one of a pair –
His partner’s climbing the steep wet slope
To the houses across the street.
Just as she spots the rebuff not yet uttered
Forecast in his eyes (for she has a surfeit of spuds)
He speaks his single line:
I’m canvassing for Sinn Féin in the election.

She’s suddenly freezing, as their glances meet.
No, quickly, I don’t approve of violence.

Banned, he turns back down the path
As civilly as he came,
And she’s the one who’s sorry
For the prim rejection,
For sending him away in the rain
Without exchange or explanation,
For letting him make his own strange sense
Of prosperous citizens who think that killing
Is a vulgar habit, and trust the courts for justice.

From: Banjaxxed, Summer Palace Press, 2001

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