“I Wuz Dea” by Lee A. Tonouchi

Lee A. Tonouchi


Nobody really eva toll me
how it all went down.
Wuz kinda like
you wuz dea
you should know
but I wuz too young
for remembah

I check out da state library
for old newspapah articles
so I can read
for find out exackly
wot wen happen.

Scanning da microfiche
I start for come queasy
little bit.
I dunno if can handle.
I look couple chree times,
but not on da front page
or even in da first section.
I check again for make shua
I get da right date.

Finally I find ’em
da brief mention stay buried,
mixed in wit da traffic report.
One column. Chree short paragraphs.
“Kaimukï Traffic Snarled.”
Talks about angry motorists
who wuz late for work.
Stores complaining
about da loss of business.
Nobody wen talk to any of da people
who worked wit my mom
who went school wit my mom
who wuz related to my mom
who knew my mom at all.
Da only mention of her had
wuz “one fatality.”

Nevah even get her name.
Da only reason
I knew wuz her
is cuz
I wuz dea.

from Rattle #33, Summer 2010

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