By Lawrence Matsuda
Christmas chocolates set aside for Hiroshima relatives:
See’s chewy nougat, caramel walnuts,
vanilla crème, and solid milk chocolate.
Mom convinced us to keep fruit cake,
sticky blob of candied cherries, citron,
and oranges cemented in a circular can covered with a design of holly sprigs and pine cones.
The tin was the only thing of value to me.
Possible home for toy army soldiers or mom’s sewing threads and needles.
We complained that all the best went to Japan and we got left-overs.
My brother and I believed everyone had relatives with homes destroyed in the War.
Hauled boxes in the Red Radio Flyer Wagon to the Chinatown Post Office every month:
Chocolates, coffee, medicine to trade on the black market,
underwear and clothes purchased from Goodwill.
We took turns riding home.
Prevented the wagon from rattling.
Lawrence Matsuda is a local poet. The poem is reprinted with permission from his book, “A Cold Wind from Idaho,” Black Lawrence Press, NY, 2010, 79 pp. (paperback).