Pam knapp

Stray Dog Watching

There’s this stray dog that keeps coming into my yard. It doesn’t do anything much; it just sits, stands or lays there, but it bothers me, you know? Why does it keep coming? Y’know?

 

It’s just staring at me through the window the whole time. I can’t have it here today. Someone’s bound to notice. Someone’ll come over and ask about the stray and I’ll have to make small talk and today, I just can’t do that. Not today.

 

There’s plenty to do before I am ready for chit chat. There’s that hole in the garden and a roll of carpet that needs burying in it. Y’know what I’m saying here? It’s a cliché but if nobody asks about it, I can’t answer to it. Y’know? Nothing to see here - except that dog.

He’s going to give it all away and that’ll be it for us.  

 

I want to forgive. I really do. But I’m not there yet. Once that carpet roll’s buried and the hole filled in, I think I’ll be in a better place. I can move on. I might even adopt that old mutt. A little company might be nice. Y’know, friendly company? 

 

But not now. Now I have to get things straight. Straight, before the kids come home and find that carpet roll and start asking about the door. It was hanging by one hinge and wouldn’t go back on, so I took it off altogether. I wanted to smash it to bits and put it in the hole with the carpet roll, but I just managed to put a load of hammer shaped dents in the frame. So, now it’s on its side in the hall. 

 

Things haven’t turned out the way I thought, y’know? All sorted and agreed? Civil like. No. It really wasn’t civil. Not civil at all.   

 

The door, the carpet roll, the hole, all the broken glass from the photo-frames all splintered across the floor. Icy little splinters lying in wait to cut and stab at anyone who tries to walk across them.  How can I stop the kids coming through here with no door? Time’s short and that dog’s still there, watching me, waiting. 

 

It usually goes away when the shouting starts. Dogs are sensitive like that. They can tell when something’s not right. Y’know? They know stuff that can’t be said, can’t be described. I mean, we can clear up glass and fix up new doors. The things that are buried in the garden can be planted over. But the things that are left behind, after the mess is cleared away, is the stuff that the dog comes into the yard for. It stays there, watching, but I think watching over me, not just watching. 

 

There’s no shouting here, not now. Would the dog come in, do you think? The kids might not notice anything if they have a dog. Then it wouldn’t be a stray. Then maybe it wouldn’t bother me so much, y’know? 

20 March, 2021

Pam Knapp lives in the UK’s rolling countryside of the Sussex Downs, close enough to London to feel the heat, far enough away to avoid being burnt. Optimism is her greatest asset. Her recent writing can be found in Dreich Magazine, Green Ink Poetry, Owl Hollow Press and In Parentheses Literary Magazine.