The Walls Between Us

by Simon Currie

The Senior Lecturer in Philosophy,
expert, maybe, on Ethics (what we owe one another),
hears through the open kitchen window
a hubbub she cannot fathom.
It comes from over the high wall that separates her
from the neighbours. Shouts and cackles in unfamiliar voices
mingle with the breaking of glass, the clang on metal.

The only time she has wished the wall not quite so high,
she gets on with the washing up. But her mind reaches for Heidegger.
His Being and Time dealt with man’s role in a world of objects.
This seems to cover whatever is going on next door.
He championed Hitler, Kristallnacht synonymous with the breaking of glass.
His Predicament of Human Existence was real enough to him
as he pedalled out of Freiburg to escape the Allies.
Yes, he was good on Angst.
But the laughter she hears is carefree. Joyful even.
There seems no need to go round.

Later on, she will learn the truth, not from Philosophy,  
opaque on rules of behaviour, but from common-or-garden gossip.
The woman next door has gone away for a “dirty weekend”
with someone else’s husband.
He has left in her drive his brand new Lamborghini.
The jilted wife, not content with cutting off toes and collars
from all his socks and shirts, has ventured out with a posse
of friends and children from the neighbouring village,
as medieval enemies did from walled towns on hilltops,
to give him more of what she feels is owed him.