Day 98 – December 7

Monday, December 7, 2009
Day 98
11:45 pm – 12:33 am

December 7

That fierce mother of mine
was all of ninety pounds
in her early twenties while
etching English and Nihongo
lessons upon eager minds
at Monroe High School
in the Valley

She was stern, she was
serious, she spent every
ounce of good intention
on curriculum and
students, so it was no
surprise she ended
up being their favorite

This day, in those days,
was “Kill-A-Jap Day”, every
year the same, but news
to her in that first year
of teaching so there it
was to greet her with
steel teeth one morning

The announcement of
said infamous day cast
over loudspeakers right
into the classroom like a
gray cloud diffusing knowing
grins as eyes shifted on
to their beloved teacher

They never thought much
about what was simply
how it always was, but
in a moment, Room 25
at Monroe High was
silenced by the pause
at the front of the room

Guileless gazes on unsteady
hands holding sweaty chalk,
the room steadfast in
collective breathlessness,
as if their exhale would be
the final blow against
the back of her knees

Never before had they
witnessed her posture
buckle by the shock of her
own swiftly dwindled spirit
It was in an instant, surely,
when that day became one
they would never forget




About traciakemi

traci akemi kato-kiriyama - inter/multi-disciplinary theatre/performance artist, arts educator, cultural worker, community organizer. Tuesday Night Project; theatre, performance, writing, and teaching projects with many organizations and artists including: zero 3; Edge of The World for Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia and the National Asian American Theatre Festival in New York; "PULL" with Kennedy Kabasares in San Francisco; Nobuko Miyamoto and Great Leap Collaboratory I; TeAda; NCRR; Oymun's 11. Playwright for "Chasing Dad - a performance of a reading about a play i'm writing" presented by Inside the Ford for the Ford's Summer Playwright series. View all posts by traciakemi

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