Selfie, Dumfries, 1998
The Christmas Eve that twinkled green and red
within my love-sick eyes withstood the bruise
at arm’s length of the flash. I made a bed
on Burns’s grave and let the drizzle muse
at middle-aged colonial conceits,
the kind my bones were weathering to suit
in other drunken far and future streets,
the winter less Dickensian and cute.
I rose and moped the churchyard in a blank,
until that emptied out and nothing pulled
me back down to the pub where nothing drank
its empty glass. The negative still spooled
unpainted in its roll was to have been
a metaphor, was to have meant to mean.
Nick Ascroft has three books coming out in 2018: Dandy Bogan: Selected Poems (Boatwhistle), Nine Benign Sonnets (Maungatua Press) and As Long as Rain (Beet Box Books), his debut science fiction novel, set in Southland, New Zealand, in a 2018 where the 1990s never ended.