My mother and aunt

in a black and white photograph,

awkward in blouses and skirts,

arms around each others waists,

frown in practiced smiles

at the shadow snapping their picture,

month and year shortly after WW2

dashed in pencil on the back


Behind them, their two men,

head to toe in a hammock,

lift glasses in laughter

in a backyard of dying grass

and failing fruit trees


I‘ve been halted by the brilliance

of butterflies maneuvering over flowers,

orioles, the pacific golden plover in April,

bees too, dandelions and sunflowers,

the ocean at certain moments,

wheat fields in mornings before harvest


This 3 x 4 black and white print

of two young women

squeezing together to pose

in the afternoon glare

is the most sunlight has ever shown me

of pure gold