You Shouldn’t Have

The invitation specified ‘no gifts’,
but you brought one anyway. So now
I’m burdened with responsibility
for suitable reciprocity.

A bit or bob would be a waste of time
(and world resource, as well as yours and mine) –
we both know that we’ve already got
everything anyone could want.

Think of the embarrassment you’ve caused
to those who complied with the request,
the false politeness, lies I’ve had to tell,
hypocrisy I’ve been forced to show
in adulation of your offering.
Let’s do the decent thing and end it now.

Next birthday, I’ll send you a voucher saying
‘the bearer is entitled not to bother’.

Ann Gibson

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Ann Gibson would be pleased to hear them.