ghosts of manzanar

by Jenni Emiko Kuida


this morning i met the ghosts of manzanar

walking around the auditorium,

i started to feel a chill


maybe it was the desert wind

maybe it was the air floating through my happi coat

but i felt them.


and as i turned the corner,

i saw mt. whitney, wisps of clouds swirling through

the snow touched peaks.


after ten years of coming to these pilgrimages

i wandered in to the auditorium,

just opened to the public this weekend

and i felt them.


i closed my eyes and i could see life going on 60 years ago...

people staging plays and performances

as if they were back home


people graduating from high school

as if they were back home


kids playing basketball in the gym

like we're trying to get back home (in little tokyo)


people like my mom and dad and grandma's too

people like the muslims, arabs and the sikhs


this morning i said hello to the ghosts of manzanar

and as the morning's chill turned into a gusty windy day,

I went about my day,

giving back to my community,

at the manzanar pilgrimage and manzanar after dark.


dedicated to the manzanar after dark program - april 27, 2002.