I. Of Manzanar 1942
"We didn't know where they had
taken him. Right at harvest time. Tomatoes. Winter
crop. Told us to pack. Only what we could carry.
But the harvest almost ready and our father, they
took him. No one thought they would take us. Honor
role, I was. High School. Until the harvest. White
teachers told us no way they'd take us. Honor role.
No worry. This place, cold in winter, too cold to
grow. Lots of ice, wind, snow. Jack rabbits. That's
it. Finally our father returned. Want to know what
happened to tomato crop. Took us before harvest.
They probably kept. Father taken to Tule Lake, where
they took spies. Thought he was a traitor, selling
secrets over seas, sending weapons with the harvest."
II. Los Angeles 1996
In her spine folded shuffle,
my Grandmother points out
weeds in the thick green
tomato beds. Slowly she can reach
some of the fruit, garden
built at waist height by her sons.
On cushions she sits in the sun
a stray rabbit adopts her,
sits by her feet eating the green leaves
she feeds it, watching her tomatoes.