Mother’s Developing House by Clodagh Beresford Dunne

I never knew my mother

as a photographer

until I found her student

darkroom

asbestos roof and windowless –

her very own Developing House

just beyond the coal

bunker in grandmother’s garden.

Hidden by the thick midge

hedge and twining

bines of honeysuckle

one summer afternoon

I sideslid the rustcrusted

bolt and felt the pelt

of an arachnid welcome.

Shattered bulbs crunched

on the concrete floor

must and pungence

of silver bromide

hung in air

from the rafters

with her Mamiya camera case.

Clotheslines of pegged

prints stretched from wall to wall

drying for years

above four trays

in which each latent image

was once transformed

to visible

made permanent

rendered insensitive to light.

Clodagh Beresford Dunne's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Irish and international publications including; The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, The Moth, Southword, The Pickled Body, Pittsburgh Poetry Review. She is the recipient of a 2016 Arts Council of Ireland Emerging Writer Bursary. She tweets at @cberesforddunne. You can listen to her interview US poet Jan Beatty here.

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