The Other Side of the Window

Published by the Silverleaf Writers Guild in their Spring 2018 newsletter

Martha Spence, affectionately known as The Moccasin Lady by us Timmins folk, passed away on February 9, 2018 at the age of 72. Upon hearing of her passing, I decided to dig up this poem and polish it for publication. I wrote the original version nearly a decade ago as part of National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). The poem is not about Martha, but it was inspired by her.

RIP Martha. You were a valuable and integral part of Timmins’ cultural landscape.

The Other Side of the Window

Beside a snow-crusted window
on a blustery night
the click-clack of my keyboard
is drowned by a barking dog

 Out the window I expect to see
its owner
attempting to appease its ails
but I’m saddened to see
an old dog
tied to a post
at the bar across the street

In and out,
drunken patrons pass it by

Each time, its eyes widen
rump rises
tail wags in anticipation
spraying snow left then right

Each time, it sits back down
eyes narrow
ears droop
and it waits
continuing to call out for someone

I imagine it in a warmer climate
next to a muddied drinking hole
the focus of an ad campaign
with a celebrity voiceover
like a starving, neglected child

In my mind, I cross the street
untie the leash
and let it run free
or follow me home

I would weep if not for the angry knot forming in my stomach

Then the door opens
and the dog ceases its refrain

I expect
a stumbling drunk
to fiddle incoherently with the leash
until its unappreciated hero
leads him home

Instead I see a lady
as old and drooping as her dog
reach out with a wrinkled hand
and gingerly cup its snout in one hand
as the other arthritically releases the rope

I recognize this woman instantly

She is the Bead Lady
so named by townsfolk for her trinkets and bobbles
handcrafted and perfect
that she steadfastly sells all over town

This is what she had been doing
I now know
selling her treasures to drunken husbands
with obvious money to burn
and likely apologies to be made
as her own companion waits patiently for her return

And here I sit
in the comfortable warmth of my side of the window

My anger subsides
then I weep

Published by

Jessica Trudel

Jessica Trudel has been a freelance writer and editor for over a decade. She is an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness, and a supporter of the arts in Northern Ontario.

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