The pretty photographer on Guy Fawkes night

The pretty photographer sits alone in an empty office, eating toast

she toasted in the kitchenette.  She had been invited

to a friend’s party and so went out, dressed in a gold dress

with a pattern of birds on it—not very well aligned

with the seams, as it happens, so that the head of one bird

is cut off at the waist, and another bird is folded quite in two.

At the party there would be champagne, probably, and

tiny, lovely things to eat, but she had driven

past the street where the party was happening

till she found herself parking outside the office building

where her friend Leonie works and to which

she has a swipe card (and the password to Leonie’s computer

though she has not turned it on), and now she finds herself surprised

at how lonely it feels to be watching the same fireworks

she knows her friends are watching without her at the party. 

The loneliness is in fact far more spectacular than the fireworks, so

after a while she turns her back to the window and, to the sound

of the fireworks exploding, begins photographing

the little bits of untidiness she finds in Leonie’s office,

the dust between the numbers on the phone, the crumbs

along the side of the cushion of Leonie’s chair, wires

tangled on the floor, a shoebox on a pile of folders, smears

of something oily on the computer keyboard, feeling

oddly nervous every time her camera flash goes off.