Page 14 - WTP Vol. IX #7
P. 14

Manzanar, June 2nd, 1962
Papa is carrying dumbbells for hands when he exits the car.
It makes his back become a boomerang. His face is straining
to be nothing.
It smells like a fire was here. A long time ago. Maybe
if I search
the earth, I will find soot.
Papa says he has been here before— in a desert swept by sun.
I grasp his hand because we are alone. This time, I can tell he is holding tight—a knot cinching under wind.
He says there used to be many people here, rows and rows of buildings
like neat candles on a birthday cake
for Buddha.
How many, I ask. Too many, he says, too many.
I try to imagine a town here with a bellowing clocktower, with suitcases for homes—
a square where friendly people give me dollops of ice cream.
But even I know that something can’t pretend to be something it’s not.
A slab of rock among nothing— its edges an obelisk.
My teacher had said that Egyptians would put them up as a way to pay tribute
to their gods.
MaxwELL Suzuki

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