Japanese-American Farmhouse, California, 1942
Everything has been taken that anyone
by Sharon Olds
thought worth taking. The stairs are tilted,
scattered with sycamore leaves curled
like ammonites in inland rock.
Wood shows through the paint on the frame
and the door is open--an empty room,
sunlight on the floor. All that is left
on the porch is the hollow cylinder
of an Albert's Quick Oats cardboard box
and a sewing machine. Its extraterrestrial
head is bowed, its scrolled neck
glistens. I was born, that day, near there,
in wartime, of ignorant people.