by Oonah V Joslin
Local men called it the Doghouse. It was their refuge in times of trouble. Local women called it the Kennel Club and regarded the poodle-haired landlady with suspicion. Many a tall tale was told there but tails held high at the bar often returned between the legs on the stagger home to a reprimand.
The Dog’s Blanket, its real name, was revisited by the same clientele all year round, year on year, but at Christmas and New Year, it glowed with open fires, laughter and camaraderie – a haven for men brought together by cold weather or outlawed by in-laws, descended to eat them out of house and home.
Joe left the noise and whiskey-glow and tumbled late out of the door. He heard the usual stirrings of pheasants. The village lights winked along the road down below, and the moon, icy blue, cast purple shadows behind the cemetery headstones. Night owls hooted, sheep baaed in the field and a fresh fall of glinting snow muffled all the songs of the winter earth.
Joe felt cold in his bones, listened to the crunch of it beneath his feet and was reminded of what this time he had come out to forget – the silence.
Oonah V Joslin is Managing Editor of Every Day Poets. She has around 100 publications online.