The Darkroom

Red water laps, a familiar form sharpens;
my out-of-focus hand refills your glass.

Toasting the turn of a year never lived,
no one hears the shutter flex

but you, turning to the camera
in miniscule movement, time-lapse:

a wink broken down to its constituent parts,
smile expanded to its own universe.

Brown eyes speak of your resurgence;
recognition in the grey hair

still combed over sun-starved ears,
last reserves of black patrolling the scalp.

In the resurrection machine of the darkroom,
scenes choose themselves in the stop-baths,

chemicals stir the electric memory
and the final image is pegged up to dry:

the roll-up you meant to smoke later
resting on your armchair,

the glass of whisky a third full
relinquished, falling forever.

Crossings Over (University of Chester)