Look me in the eye


Anger welled up inside me.

Its strength took me by surprise.

How dare she?!

She didn’t look.

Couldn’t bring herself

to look him in the eye.

She just held a hand outstretched,

through her window,

with a few rand,

small change.

Begrudgingly given.

At arm’s length,

behind her line of vision.

Eyes fixed forward.

Swiftly driving away.

The car guard who’s done his job well,

looked after her car,

doesn’t even get the courtesy

of being looked at in the eye.


Maybe he’s from Congo,

or Zim.

Likely well-educated,

maybe a teacher back home.

But here, a car guard.

The most legal of his limited options.

Trying to earn an honest living.

Hard earned.

What’s worse?

The driving rain,

or the cutting lack of respect?

The latter by far I expect.

It doesn’t take much to give

a little dignity, warmth and respect.

What’s the lady afraid of?

The one who doesn’t meet his eye.

That he’ll ask for more?

That he’ll harm her?

I don’t think so.

Maybe she’s scared

that if she looks him in the eye

she’ll see his humanity there,

that he’s not so unlike her

and that’s harder to ignore.

That might disturb her comfortable day,

her blinkered life.

Photo credit: http://roobo69.files.wordpress.com Five Minute Friday: “Still”.


All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2012

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