Noriko sits on her knees in a gold and black kimono, wide sleeves holding fragile arms, palms on her lap, thumbs hidden. With white hair pulled back, cheekbones rise under eyes deep in memory of Manzanar. In Block 25, she lived with her mother and father next to an ancient apple orchard he pruned and tended, picking yellow fruit and storing baskets in a cellar the other men built for the skin to turn red and sweet. Being the oldest Issei man, younger than his daughter is today, he was given no work, left to himself while his wife made rounds as a dietician, using rations to plan menus for those suffering illness, and Noriko learned how to diagram English sentences, sticking words on limbs. The Sierras ten thousand feet above, her father hiked the creeks, no one believing an old man could escape the wire. He brought home branches of myrtle. Noriko would watch him sit for hours, carving boughs into lamps and table legs. Once a night heron emerged from his hands, short neck and short legs. Her father placed him at the edge of the steps. Alone to wait for the rising moon.
Chella Courington (she/they) is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear in numerous anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quarterly, X-R-A-Y Magazine, and New World Writing. With three chapbooks of flash fiction and six of poetry, she recently published a novella-in-flash, Adele and Tom: The Portrait of a Marriage (Breaking Rules Publishing), featured at Vancouver Flash Fiction. A Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, and Best of the Net Nominee, Courington now lives in California.