Confessions of a paparazzo

I don’t tell stories I take pictures,
so I keep my conjunctions zipped up tight.
All I am’s a second hand trader,
stealing nows and selling thens.

In the heat of a shootout,
body thrust high over the crowd,
I’d snap-snap-snap a whole roll,
pop caps, reload and rip through more
to capture every yell and comma in the air.

Come home, baptise my plastic strips,
cut them up and lay them down
to repent on virgin contact sheets
for all that happened, all these sins
and seek redemption in the one.

But tonight,
in the red and black of my picture cave,
my lonely casino, dealer wins again.
Too many too-dark squares and feet and sky
from when the crowd consumed me.

I fill in the gaps and think about
a kind of picture book that never fades.
The opposite of words, prints, crossings out
in cells instead of cellulose.

Gabby Turner

This poem was shortlisted for The Poems Please Me Prize 2015