I've received a few questions this week about how I feel regarding the Amy Senser verdict in the death of Anousone Phanthavong. She received 41 months, which is much more than Vincent Chin's killers ever served. But it does not bring back a young man whose family needed him. I think of the words of Winston Churchill: "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of a beginning."
While I'm still pondering how I will write a specific poem responding to the case, one of my poems that has been coming back to my mind since the case began is "Nerakhoon." It is a poem I originally wrote in homage to Thavisouk Phrasavath's classic film of the same name. This was first published in my book Tanon Sai Jai in 2009. I'll let the rest speak for itself.
I love our traditions but our ways must change, too,
If I want a tomorrow worth having.
We have rites and ways of setting things right,
But it‟s sad we need to have those already.
That we‟ve wronged each other so often before
It‟s become routine.
I can forgive all of this, but
What a place this might be where the soul doesn‟t need a map,
A reason, an order to be kind.
For such a world,
I would happily release one last turtle to the sea,
A raven to the winds, whatever needs to be free
If only I could believe and trust
Words and hearts and destiny.