Transformations

Walking through the hollow hallways of my college has not always been the easiest of tasks, especially that first day. I remember walking in the doors of the Mikinuk Building, not looking at anyone. I noticed the polished floors, the crowded tables, and the distant conversations I could only faintly hear. I felt my gut and my nerves becoming incredibly…

The Fishing Trip

The sun was barely over the horizon when I began to pack my Blazer for my annual fishing trip; every year in the early summer I took a couple of days off from work and went fishing. Usually it was just me, and sometimes my dog, but this year I would be taking my 8-year-old nephew. He had been living…

Lonesome Jissom Testament

Tonight the Moon is an Indian searching this city for women and a strong drink. His face is obscured by blue clouds of cigarette smoke. He speaks insect dialects, chirping and clicking dirty things into the ears of any girl drunk enough to understand. Tonight the Moon has little money in his pockets and even less hope in his heart….

Loss of a Language—Forgotten Through Time

When I was young, the kids in school asked me questions like why my parents were old and why they spoke another language. I never really answered their questions; I just let them tease me. I was proud of my Ina (mother) and Ate (father). My parents were always there for me, and they never quit speaking Lakota. Lakota was…

Leaves in October

1. I was born into light at sunrise; the hollow between a seashell, keye, a ghost-like reflection washing my body with cedar boughs from Green and White Rivers; soil from Black River upon my feet. Her voice pressed into my fingerprints – white woven blanket against my skin. Abalone buttons and clamshells sewn into grandfather’s story around me: Arthur C….

The Flaming Chicken

I remember the first time I officially became a “car nut.” I was about seven or eight years old and the series “Smokey and the Bandit” was showing on T.V. I’m still not sure exactly what drew me to the black Pontiac Firebird that Burt Reynolds drove. Maybe it was the look of the car or the fact that no…

Ode to the Rocket

“Oh, Nineteen Sumthin” is all anyone seems to remember of your birth. Rain, Mud, Snow, “First nights,” and “Yei-bi-chei,” you’ve seen’em all. It never mattered that your bald tires didn’t match. Sometimes you even decided to stall at the worst times, but all it took was a tap on the starter or a push down the dahiskidii, the hill, to…

St. Norbert Swam in the Mill Pond

In autumn 1934, rail riding was coming to a close for all the summer hobos. Hap and I had ridden the train from Neopit to De Pere and back again once a week to work the foundry for years. A nickel note a week seemed a fair price to give the old woman with rooms to let in the rickety…

Equator

In the midst of the South China Sea Upon the imaginary line That divides the world Between North, South Scorching yellow orb Deep azure water Chambray sky Salted air Drab gray hulk that is the USS San Bernardino And the seagulls squawk and scold Dolphins and flying fish compete to lead the ship At the boundary the ship drops anchor…

My Battle Wound

Ahhh, stubbornness, the blessed trait bestowed upon me by my mother. Although she never confessed this to me, I always knew the origin of this gift. Even as a young girl I was always taught to stick up for myself and never back down. The ugly patch of light skin on my knee is a constant reminder of this lesson….

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