Words And Places native literature from the american southwest
 

Running on the Edge of the Rainbow: Laguna Stories and Poems
with
Leslie Marmon Silko

Storytelling

Prologue

You should understand the way it was
back then,
because it is the same
even now.

Long ago it happened
that her husband left
to hunt deer
before dawn.
And then she got up
and went to get water. Early in the morning
she walked to the river when the sun came over
the long red mesa.
He was waiting for her
that morning
in the tamarack and willow
beside the river.
Buffalo Man
in buffalo leggings.
"Are you here already?"
"Yes," he said.
He was smiling.
"Because I came for you."
She looked into the
shallow clear water.
"But where shall I put my water jar?"
"Upside down, right here," he told her,
"on the river bank."

"You better have a damn good story," her husband said,
"about where you been for the past
10 months and how you explain these
twin baby boys."
"No! That gossip isn't true.
She didn't elope.
She was kidnapped by
that Mexican
at Seama Feast.
You know my daughter
isn't
that kind of girl."
It was
in the summer
of 1967.
T.V. news reported
a kidnapping.
Four Laguna women
and 3 Navajo men
headed north along
the Rio Puerco River
in a red '56 Ford.
And the F.B.I, and
state police were
hot on their trail
of wine bottles and
size 42 panties
hanging in bushes and trees
all along the road.
"We couldn't escape them," he told police later,
"We tried, but there were four of them and
only three of us."

Seems like it's always happening to me.
Outside the dance hall door
late Friday night
in the summertime,
and those brown-eyed men from Cubero
smiling.
They usually ask me
"Have you seen the way stars shine
up there in the sand hills?"
And I usually say "No. Will you show me?"

It was
that Navajo
from Alamo,
you know,
the tall
good-looking
one.

He told me
he'd kill me
if I didn't
go with him
And then it
rained so much
and the roads
got muddy.
That's why
it took
so long
to get back home.

My husband
left
after he heard the story
and moved back in with his mother.
It was my fault and
I don't blame him either.
I could have told
the story
better than I did.

Return to the contents page for
Running on the Edge of the Rainbow: Laguna Stories and Poems

By This Song I Walk: Navajo Songs | Seyewailo: The Flower World Yaqui Deer Songs | The Origin of the Crown Dance: An Apache Narrative and Ba'ts'oosee: An Apache Trickster Cycle | Iisaw: Hopi Coyote Stories & Hopi Songs | Natwaniwa: A Hopi Philosophical Statement | Running on the Edge of the Rainbow: Laguna Stories and Poems | Songs of My Hunter Heart: Laguna Songs and Poems | A Conversation with Vine Deloria, Jr. | Home