Ilse Pedler

Night Watching

Sometimes I see you leave the house in the middle
of the night, trying to disguise the sound of your key
releasing
the lock and the thump of your car door closing in the dark.

There’s no telling when you will return, sometimes
an hour sometimes three, sometimes you don’t come back
at all and I just see you through the curtains the next day.

Usually your step is lighter, although once I saw you stand
and stare at the stars for four or maybe five minutes
before going inside, it looked like you were crying.

One night I remember particularly, you came back just
as dawn was breaking and opened the boot of your car,
I thought I caught a glimpse of something wrapped in
a towel.

On another, you hosed down some kind of jacket, I
couldn’t be sure
but the water looked a little red as it ran off down
the path,
although when I checked later there was nothing to see.

You’re not the sort of woman who wears make up or nail
varnish, in fact you keep your nails very short and your
hands
look chapped as though you scrub them frequently.

At weekends you garden furiously, no weeds escape
your attention. A small brown dog always sits close by
pretending not to watch you but I can see one eyebrow

twitching as you move along the border. Sometimes
when you straighten and rub your back he lifts his head
and when you get up, he stretches and follows you
indoors.

Ilse Pedler has poems pub-lished in magazines and anth-ologies. She is the winner of the 2015 Mslexia Pamphlet Competition with, ‘The Dogs That Chase Bicycle Wheels’,  Seren. She was shortlisted in the National Poetry Compe-tition 2018 and was the poet in residence at Sidmouth Folk Week. In between writing poetry she works as a veterinary surgeon.