Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women

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

Descent

Linda Hogan

My mother used to say, “You trying to dig a hole to China?” And I guess I was.
Every place that I could find a crack of pure earth I’d dig. It was in my mind to
escape this world. I’d pretend I was tunneling out of prison or that I’d break into one
of the rivers underground and float away from here. I thought a way would break
open, and I’d find an entrance to another world and I would enter it free and alone.

Sometimes I see things as they were before this world, in the time of first people. Not just before the building of houses, the filling in of land, the drying up of water, but long ago, before we had canoes and torches and moved through the wet night like earthbound stars, slow and enchanted in our human orbit, knowing our route because, as Ama said, it had always been our route. I see this place from in the beginning when it was an ocean of a world. Even sky was a kind of water. Land not yet created. And then a breeze of air, an alive wind, swept through, searching for something to breathe its life into and all it could do was move the water in waves and tides, and water didn’t stand up, although it spoke.

It was before there were ants that survived the floods by gluing sticks together to make rafts that will float. At first, there was not even a stone. It must have been that a dreaming god, a begetter of some kind, dreamed up something solid and rooted. Then, that first island floated up like limestone from the ocean floor, the way it is now, in this time, and it began to breathe. Soon, green ferns pushed up their first coils from the ground and opened. The frogs emerged from mud and the island in the sea was breathing. The wind breathed through all of this. And all this was before anyone thought of heaven. The time might have been the age of the first trees, tall cypress or the mangrove trees that form land now.

In this watery, foggy world of one color and only the breeze of life, the great anhinga bird with its open, drooping wings, broke through the watery sky world with its beak, broke it like the shell of an egg. It, the sun bird, they call it, sat in light and draped its wings, and these wings, Ama said, called down the sun. And that first

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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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