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Terzanelle: Manzanar Riot

Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan
This is a poem with missing details,
of ground gouging each barrack's windowpane,
sand crystals falling with powder and shale,

where silence and shame make adults insane.
This is about a midnight of searchlights,
of ground gouging each barrack's windowpane,

of syrup on rice and a cook's big fight.
This is the night of Manzanar's riot.
This is about a midnight of searchlights,

a swift moon and a voice shouting, Quiet!
where the revolving searchlight is the moon.
This is the night of Manzanar's riot,

windstorm of people, rifle powder fumes,
children wiping their eyes clean of debris,
where the revolving searchlight is the moon,

and children line still to use the latrines.
This is a poem with missing details,
children wiping their eyes clean of debris—
sand crystals falling with powder and shale.

From Shadow Mountain by Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan. Copyright © 2008 by Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan. Used by permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.

From Shadow Mountain by Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan. Copyright © 2008 by Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan. Used by permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.

Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan