Manzanar

The following is a poem written by Mary Langer Thompson that originally appeared in “The Word,” Volume 3, 2008, a California Lutheran University publication.


Mary Langer Thompson

by Mary Langer Thompson

Let orchards stand for fallen, swept away apples in a
barren square. Barbed wired, piercing.

Let the apple crate stand for desks where poets harvested poems,
where a soldier’s mother read the telegram.

Let the American flag hoisted daily over enemies not enemies
stand for those who saluted like servers slicing apple pie.

Let the memorial obelisk stand for rioters slain
over sugar fraud, sugar for apple sauce.

Paper cranes, delicate as apple blossoms, now blow in the wind.

The 2012-13 Senior Poet Laureate of California, Mary Langer Thompson lives in Apple Valley, California, with her husband, Dave. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she drove with her family on Route 66 in 1958 to live in Glendale, California, where she was raised. A retired school principal with an Ed.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, Thompson, 66, serves on the board of the California Retired Teachers Association, Tumbleweed Division. Her collection of forty poems, Poems in Water, was published by Green Fuse Poetic Arts of Loveland, Colorado in July 2014. The poem, “Manzanar” is included in that collection and was written after a visit to the site.

The views expressed in this story are those of the author, and are not necessarily those of the Manzanar Committee.


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