Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women

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

Letter from the End
of the Twentieth Century

Joy Harjo

I shared a half hour of my life this morning with Rammi, an Igbo man from northern Nigeria who drove me in his taxi to the airport. Chicago rose up as a mechanical giant with soft insides buzzing around to keep it going. We were part of the spin.

Rammi told the story of his friend, who one morning around seven—a morning much like this one—was filling his taxi with gas. He was imagining home, a village whose memories had given him sustenance to study through his degree and would keep him going one more year until he had the money to need to return.

As the sun broke through the grey morning he heard his mother tell him, the way she had told him when he was a young boy, how the sun had once been an Igbo and returned every morning to visit relatives.

These memories were the coat that kept him warm on the streets of ice.

He was interrupted by a young man who asked him for money, a young man who was like many he saw on his daily journey onto the street to collect fares. “Oh no, sorry man. I don’t have anything I can give you,” he said as he patted the pockets of his worn slacks, his thin nylon jacket. He saved every penny because he knew when he returned he’d be taking care of his family, a family several houses large.

He turned back to the attention of filling his gas tank. What a beautiful morning, almost warm. And the same sun, the same Igbo looking down on him in the streets of the labyrinth far far from home.

And just like that he was gone, from a gunshot wound at the back of his head—the hit of a casual murderer.

-192-

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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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