Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women

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

Las Vegas, New Mexico, July 1969

Anna Lee Walters

Rosa Lopez sat in a rocking chair, staring out one of the long narrow windows to the mountains west of Las Vegas. Everything outside was a thick green though the sky was filled with dusty summer rain.

She was frail now, as thin as the wood in the frame of the rocking chair, as limp as the dainty handkerchief she kept in the pocket of her dressing gown. It was a long, dark gown with white lace around her neck and at her wrists. Her feet were covered in the same color. A crocheted coverlet lay across her lap.

The room was massive, dwarfing her against the afternoon haze pouring through the wispy, ivory curtains. A large, soft, maroon rug covered most of the floor area, and dark, heavy, polished pieces of furniture filled the walls and corners. The bed was under the long, skinny windows.

She had been sitting where she was for perhaps two hours, staring out the window, and waiting. Death was certain now, as certain as the light spray of rain on the windowpanes. After nearly one hundred years of living, Rosa didn’t mind it too much.

She began to undo the bun that her hair was styled into. Her movements were painstakingly deliberate. Her hair was white, as white as the lace around her neck. She lifted a heavy brush from the dressing table and slowly began to brush out her long hair.

Finally, she put the brush down and stared at her hands. They were brown and wrinkled. She picked up the heavy hand mirror and hesitantly peeked into it. Her face was ancient. The black eyes gazed into the mirror for a long time, and then she put the mirror down.

Rosa hadn’t said much in the last eight years, only the few words that were necessary in day-to-day life. She had spent much of that time in thought, reflecting on her long life, her three children, and two husbands. At times, she could not completely remember all of her life. These gaps did not alarm her though, because sooner or later everything came back to her. Today was one of those days when her memory was crystal clear. She ached from remembering almost everything.

-75-

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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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