Magic happened in my father’s darkroom.

Under the red glow of safe lights
behind a black curtain, Dad projected
beams of white light through a negative

onto glossy photo paper,
counting one, one-thousand,
two, one-thousand,

three, one-thousand,
then snapping off the light.
He let me slide the exposed paper into

a white enamel pan of developer.
Together we gently rocked the pan
sending a wave of liquid back and forth.

Swishing back and forth,
a gray image appeared,
our family at the piano.

Dad standing on the left
in suit and tie, my brother in
baggy dress pants and white shirt.

I am sitting on the bench with mother
wearing a petti-coated dress, white anklets,
and patent leather Mary Janes,

a piano book of carols lies open on my lap.
Mother wears a white blouse
with black velveteen flowers, a dark skirt,

her legs crossed at the ankles, in heels.
There we are, with Christmas Greetings 1958
printed across the bottom,

I am the only one left now,
admiring the magic from my father’s darkroom.

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Annette Langlois Grunseth, author of Becoming Trans-Parent: One Family’s Journey of Gender Transition is a pushcart prize nominee and has published widely in journals and anthologies. Recent poems have appeared in Poets to Come Walt Whitman’s 200th Birthday Anthology, and From Everywhere a Little: A Migration Anthology. Learn more at annettegrunseth.com