P U T U O K A S U K A N T A 1 It is desolate outside the cell, and it is just as bleak in my heart. Why is my life this way? Is this a karmic sentence that I must serve? If so, where did it come from and who is responsible? My ancestors had no power. They were neither royal administrators nor colonial servants; even after national independence, my ancestors were not among the people who came to power. The kind of karma I have is for people whose ancestors' hands were covered in blood or, at the very least, were tools of those powerful who tormented other people. My ancestors were farmers who harrowed fields and worked in the rice terraces. My forefathers' lives were built on the sweat from their own bodies. I lie stretched out on my back in a cell for the sick. I hear nothing--least of all a human voice. My bed is an old, legless bench that saves me from having to roll out my mat on the cold cement floor. Since being brought here, I have spoken mostly to myself. Conversations, even with other longtime prisoners,
Manoa – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Apr 1, 2000
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