Nikon Flash


mom’s red painted fingernail

pressed hard on that white

Nikon flash blinding capturing

your hand placed firmly

in your sister’s sweaty

from the midsummer

California sun

bodies pressed

together inside that old

golden Nissan towers

of bug spray sleeping bags

backpacks soccerballs

your head on her shoulder

knee on thigh smiles wide

eyelids heavy

you remember flicking imaginary

ball back and forth from fingertip

to fingertip she would release

it with force and you pretend

to be hit covering eye with sudden

movement of the arm

falling back against the seat and crying

out amidst bubbles

of laughter she had big

cheeks sunk in with dimples

when she smiles at the lake bubbles

form from your dive

together off

the jagged cliff into clear as glass

water below heart pounding from the rush

mom standing across red

painted fingernail capturing you mid air

hand held in hand

when at McDonalds she climbs up the slide

you follow closely

behind gripping the plastic sides

bare hands

and feet until at the top you squeeze

into her lap inching

down the tube

static forming and sparks

sounding laughter popping

mom’s red painted fingernail

on Nikon capturing you and her

on the ground bodies

intertwined driving through yellowstone

she points to a pile of bison poop larger

than your head

steam rising

says to take a picture

next to it your matching

converse climbing across the

wooden fence crouching

mom pointing white Nikon

flash capturing brown pile

like ice cream you two

on either side

years passed by

as you two grew older she sat behind mom

and you behind dad the pile

between you barely able to see over

you look ahead to

tunnel approaching

bounce in your seat squeeze

eyes shut

stick arms out straight elbows

locked palms up and wish

to play twenty questions

but her steady gaze

is fixed out her cracked

window the brown

in her eyes tracing changing

evergreen pines to palm

trees you tracing the change

from together

to apart

you watch him

slip the symbol

of together past her fingertip

take the seat between

you and her their hands

intertwine yours underneath

legs pressed against leather seats

veins popping out

from heat fake smile for mom as her

red painted fingernail

captures you

your solitude stretching neck out

window watching

cars rush by

wondering how the time rushed by she dressed in

white and he in black the next summer inside

old gold Nissan not crammed

mom’s red painted fingernail capturing

seats wide open

you alone in the backseat

under the California sun