The Woman at the Window by Anthony Purdy

The Woman at the Window By Anthony Purdy She watches from the window as we run round from the back of the house where we are supposed to be playing down the front path to the gate which clicks as we escape into the street under cover of the neighbour’s hedge. We think we are protected, invisible, and yet we know she is watching as we run hand in hand down the path and through the gate into the wide world where we know we shouldn’t venture. We are five and oh, the glory of it! Obedient children, we are nonetheless making a break for it down the path, through the gate into a world charged with menace and the thrill of defiance. She watches from the window of their bedroom. She fills the frame. If this is a memory, why do I also see, from the air like some passing bird, two small children running hand in hand? Or am I the one watching from the window? Does my memory encompass her vision as well as mine? Or is it just a dream of watching and being watched, of we saw she saw, the distribution of roles immaterial? Is this how we rehearse our life as grown-ups, with a mad dash for freedom licensed by a gaze?   Anthony Purdy lives on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, where he started writing poems and stories two years ago, around the time he turned 70. Recent publications include poems in The Goose, The Fiddlehead, Queen’s Quarterly, Prairie Fire, and The Dalhousie Review, as well as three stories in Queen’s Quarterly. His poem “mornings” received an honorable mention in the League’s 2021 Very Short Verse contest and appeared in the May 21 edition of Poetry Pause; “bakery” was shortlisted for the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia Spring 2021 Postcard Poem contest; “The Annex” was longlisted for the 2021 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize (longlist of 14 from a field of 1,428 entries from 36 countries).