They made us leave our orchards
just before the harvest—my daughter
only three and in captivity.
juicy Hood River strawberries
melt in your mouth
stain our hands red
Eyelashes white with dust
mouths dry with desert heat
we drag thousand-pound rocks.
from a springy green stem
plump Rainier cherries
taste of sun and sugar
From basalt boulders, moonscape of sand
and alkaline soil, our restless hands build
patches of beauty at Minidoka.
the mighty Columbia
Mt. Hood rising from the clouds
the nourishing rain of my home
Shielding my eyes from the scorching sun
I breathe in the calmness of our karesansui—
perfectly raked sand and upright stones.
Hear the poet contextualize and read the poem.
Art credit: "Steps," quilt by Cathy Erickson, to which the poem was written.