We woke before dawn on the day that we traveled
Gathered our baggage to wait for the bus
I ate an apple while Papa told stories
And made sure that no one would fuss

I remember bags and boxes
Stacked up on the floor
I remember Mama crying
As she closed the door
I remember

We had just two days from when we got the notice
To store or to sell what we couldn’t convey
Mama sewed duffels to carry our clothing
And made me wear three shirts that day

I remember tagged belongings
Tied with rope and twine
I remember leaving playthings
That once were mine
I remember

I gave my bike to my best friend Amelia
My puppy, they said, would await our return
And when I asked about our destination
They told me to not be concerned

I remember people saying
“It’s their fault it’s war”
I remember knowing it
Would not be as before
I remember

We all pretended it was an adventure
But on Papa’s face I could see the regret
And I heard Grandfather whisper to Mama
“At least she’s so young she’ll forget”

I remember people yelling
“Go back to Japan!”
I remember Papa answered
“This is still our land”
I remember
I remember

© Beth DeSombre