Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women

By Hertha D. Sweet Wong; Lauren Stuart Muller et al. | Go to book overview

The Woman Who Fell from the Sky

Joy Harjo

Once a woman fell from the sky. The woman who fell from the sky was neither a murderer nor a saint. She was rather ordinary, though beautiful in her walk, like one who has experienced freedom from earth’s gravity. When I see her I think of an antelope grazing the alpine meadows in mountains whose names are as ancient as the sound that created the first world.

Saint Coincidence thought he recognized her as she began falling toward him from the sky in a slow spin, like the spiral of events marking an ascension of grace. There was something in the curve of her shoulder, a familiar slope that led him into the lightest moment of his life.

He could not bear it and turned to ask a woman in high heels for a quarter. She was of the family of myths who would give everything if asked. She looked like all the wives he’d lost. And he had nothing to lose anymore in this city of terrible paradox where a woman was falling toward him from the sky.

The strange beauty in heels disappeared from the path of Saint Coincidence, with all her money held tightly in her purse, into the glass of advertisements. Saint Coincidence shuffled back onto the ice to watch the woman falling and falling.

Saint Coincidence, who was not a saint, perhaps a murderer if you count the people he shot without knowing during the stint that took his mind in Vietnam or Cambodia—remembered the girl he yearned to love when they were kids at Indian boarding school.

He could still see her on the dusty playground, off in the distance, years to the west past the icy parking lot of the Safeway. She was a blurred vision of the bittersweet and this memory had forced him to live through the violence of fire.

-185-

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Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Credits vii
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Paula Gunn Allen (1939–) 1
  • Burned Alive in the Blues 3
  • Deer Woman 17
  • Beth E. Brant (1941–) 25
  • Turtle Gal 27
  • Swimming Upstream 38
  • Diane Glancy (1941-) 45
  • Minimal Indian 47
  • Stamp Dance 54
  • An American Proverb 59
  • Anna Lee Walters (1946-) 61
  • Buffalo Wallow Woman 63
  • Las Vegas, New Mexico, July 1969 75
  • Apparitions 80
  • Janet Campbell Hale (1947–) 85
  • Claire 87
  • Linda Hogan (1947-) 111
  • Descent 113
  • Bush’s Mourning Feast 123
  • Leslie Marmon Silko (1948–) 129
  • Storyteller 131
  • Mistaken Identity 143
  • Patricia Riley - (1950-) 151
  • Damping Down the Road 153
  • Wisteria 166
  • Joy Harjo (1951–) 173
  • The Reckoning 175
  • The Crow and the Snake 182
  • The Woman Who Fell from the Sky 185
  • The Flood 189
  • Letter from the End of the Twentieth Century 192
  • Anita Endrezze (1952–) 195
  • Grandfather Sun Falls in Love with a Moon-Faced Woman 197
  • The Humming of Stars and Bees and Waves 204
  • Louise Erdrich (1954–) 211
  • Le Mooz 213
  • Summer 1913/Miskomini-Geezis/ Raspberry Sun 222
  • Almost Soup 234
  • Lazy Stitch 239
  • Kimberly M. Blaeser (1955–) 245
  • Like Some Old Story 247
  • Growing Things 252
  • Misha Nogha (1955–) 257
  • Memekwesiw 259
  • Sakura 263
  • Beth H. Piatote (1966–) 265
  • Beading Lesson 267
  • Life-Size Indian 270
  • Reid Gómez (1968–) 279
  • Electric Gods 281
  • Touch. Touch. Touching 289
  • Author Biographies and Bibliographies 293
  • Anthologies of Native American Literatures 303
  • Index 307
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