the next-door neighbour’s laugh

The next-door neighbour’s laugh
doesn’t mean to be violent

It sells houses
cleans the car
each weekend
and seems content with that

The next-door neighbour’s laugh
enjoys barbecuing
painting fences
Plays golf once a week
Fucks the wife on Sundays

The next-door neighbour’s laugh
would be kindly
if it stopped at the fence

But to them it feels like an attack

That raucous rattle
rips through their careful
clipped-conifer defences
and flails at their frail flesh

It tears at their tattered truce
and lashes their lonely lives
with a lead-tipped levity
that leaves them limp and lost

They never acknowledge it

But the mirth shreds them
in their sodden trench

Boom, boom

The guffaws rain like mortars
on the barren no man’s land of their home,
cratering the places no one dares to go
pummelling the unspoken mud
scattering remains long dead

When it’s over
reproach falls coldly
from the sky
Hangs over the scene like gas

All is smothered

He tuts and returns to his book
She to her television

In a house nearby
someone turns up the music

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