by Mary Jacob, first draft composed 4 January 2013
Streetlamps and fairy lights sparkle the crumbling facades
of this Edwardian town.
Early evening, no movement but a lone woman
crossing to the middle of the road.
She straddles the median,
braces her feet against the cobble,
sets her hip, locks elbows,
and raises a camera as steady as it can be
for a slow shutter speed.
She presses the button, squints, fiddles,
presses again. Everything presses –
feet on the ground, elbows into ribs, finger
on the button.
She shifts her weight, changes
the white balance. The lens
unfolds out, then collapses back into itself
again. She steps
forward and back.
No sound on the street
but the soft tick and flutter of the shot.
She holds the camera
away from her face. The tiny image
shows sparky spikes of light
beating out from the streetlamp,
bashing the darkness and leaving
tattered shopfronts awash
in gold lacquer,
smoothing and filling in the cracks.
She takes her time
progressing slowly round the town tree.
Finally, a car passes, and then another.
A flock of Friday night revellers
totter onto the street in matching plumage –
impossibly high heels, miniskirts, and somewhere
each one has
a touch of glitter, echoing
the street decorations.
There’s always a bit of glitter
to push back the black.
It works quite well, sometimes,
seen through the right lens.