After every burn or lower
we come back,
amass for the departed

partake of cake and roll
till Gran dictates
we tally up our shrinkage.


I shoot each memory of absence
the fleeting glance
that somehow lasts –

finger on button,
prepped to sink a hook in us
for the long-haul

as backs straighten,
ties yawn, hems catch
lips are ready – or not.


Yet some heads –
caught on the turn
with lids mid-down

as if slighted or knowing
the lens was not
their friend that day –

seem to grant
shallow time
small audience

to my endeavours,
this instant
of placing order,

almost as though
denying or reasoning
there’s bound to be

another opportunity
for us to meet
and stand in ranks

of familial order,
teaming X and Y,
flanking each other

in best and poise,
our anecdotal history
borne in brow and grin –

as if hoping there’d be
a second chance
to click.


© Gary Studley