San Francisco Poetry Magazine –

"Tagged in San Francisco 1942" by Marjorie Sato-Bukowski


Title image shows a stylistic shot of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Published May 1, 2022

Tagged in San Francisco 1942

by Marjorie Sato-Bukowski
(Mill Valley, California, USA)

Lining up on Pine Street
the mountain of suitcases, tied-up boxes,
duffels stuffed like Mama's inarizushi
we are told to board the Greyhound bus

Aki-chan sleeps
cradled in Mama's arms
the identification number
dangling from her tiny white button
like a price tag
hanging from a Hina doll

"Leave the shades down!" the MP
shouts at my brother
excited about the trip to Tanforan Racetrack
with no horses
just people with tags
that blow in the wind
like written wishes dangling on bamboo trees
at the Tanabata festival

wishes for a better life
or at least a horse stable
without the stench of manure
seeping through the mattresses
stuffed with hay - western tatami

Aki-chan awakens
with itchy gums
the corners of her tag
soaked with saliva
eating our family's identification
one number at a time

Marjorie Sato-Bukowski is a Sansei, third generation Japanese-American, who grew up in Mill Valley, north of San Francisco. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. When she's not teaching fourth graders, she may be found meditating by the bay with her black lab named Molly.

This poem is included in Poetry World #3, published in the Wax Poetry and Art Library.

Previously published in San Francisco Poetry Magazine:

by Vivian Elizabeth

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