Too Young to Remember Minidoka, Idaho.


I do not remember the cold Idaho winter winds,

the knee deep mud that oppressed 10,000 souls or

the harsh summer heat and dust.


I do not remember the miles of clotheslines,

dirty diapers, the noise of families crowded in barracks

and canned Vienna sausage that

seemed to exude endlessly from the mess hall. 


Floating in the amniotic fluid,

my Mother’s anxieties

enveloped and nurtured me,

tethered in a salty brine, pheromones of 

fear and sadness nourished me.

Maybe it was the loss of her home,

the evacuation, the barbed wire,

being betrayed by her country,


Or maybe it was the stillborn child,

she referred to as “It”.  

My aunt described it as  “budo

or a cluster of grapes.


I recalled what Barry my psychiatrist friend said about

parents emotionally  distancing  themselves

from  new  children  immediately  after a still born.


Sixty years later on drizzly Seattle days,

when the November  sky is overcast, and

the darkness begins at 4:00 PM,

I feel my mother’s sadness like a cold wind from Idaho.


Sometimes I wish I could remember Minidoka.

I would trade those memories

for the  sadness and fear I carry in my genes.



Larry  Matsuda, November 2004