This is Kiyomi Kishaba’s third and final year editing for Saxifrage. She is graduating in May with degrees in English Writing and Communications and a minor in Hispanic Studies. Her poems in Saxifrage are part of her poetry capstone, “We Are All Ancestry.” In her free time she enjoys hiking, swing dancing, and eating chocolate.
it was dusty. The floorboards cracked and creaked and nails stuck out from the walls like bony limbs reaching to snag on your clothes. Bachan says it was cramped and crowded, two parents and four siblings and one room, one straw mattress, one stove. Bachan says her sister was born screaming in the camp hospital. Bachan says the summers parched her vocal cords and the winters froze her fingers and the months in between trudged on like soldiers in mud. Bachan says the boy next door disappeared one morning torn away from his family, too prideful of heritage to be an American boy training and shooting and slaughtering boys who looked like him. Or maybe he was just afraid. Bachan says her mother taught her how to knit crochet stars into a pillowcase, a table cloth, a bed spread until she saw the pattern in shadows behind her eyelids when she began to dream. Her father owned a laundromat before the trains came, before all they owned they could carry. In Heart Mountain he worked at the camp police station and wore a badge on his chest where his heart beat, betrayed. After bursting against the taut skin along his belly like a bullet lodged out of sight, Bachan says her father lost his appendix.
a daughter fumbling to make an origami crane, loose folds relaxing wings and spine until the pink paper lays almost flat. a mother stretching and tucking fine dough, folds sagging inside the clear glass bowl. a father stabbing a shovel into coarse dirt, loosening rocks like icebergs in grass to plant a pomegranate tree into disturbed folds of soil. a daughter unbraiding braided hair, brown and thick as rope, each strand curved like a tree root. a mother adding notes to her recipe, fold twelve times, leave to rest. a father sleeping next to unfolded laundry with a book spread open on his chest, its backbone raised like a tent. a daughter smudging ink, a mess of unfolding thoughts planted in paper like seeds sprinkled in dirt.