“It is time to leave” — the internment at Manzanar
It is time to leave now.
When it started, it was time to go. Pick up and go from your home. Take a bag. Go live in this ‘camp’ behind barbed wire fences and men with guns.
You have narrow eyes. Your lips are thin. Your skin is different. You have to go away.
Because you might kill us in our sleep. Flash searchlights into the sky and lead the bombers to our certain destruction.
That’s why it was time go. Because we could not be trusted.
I’m sad to leave now. Even in this bitter cold, away from anywhere, I’ve found a way to express my purpose. To be a man of my word, to provide for my family, to build a community. This is the end now, and what I am returning to out there can’t be the same as it was when I left. I can’t stay here. It is time to leave.
My daughter was born here. She waits on the bus with her mother. She doesn’t know what out there will be like.
And I know I can’t protect her.
The photo is from Ansel Adam’s portfolio chronicling the Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar. You can see the photos here: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/manz/. This article at Wikipedia gives a good overview of the Japanese Internment.