All I recall is my wife and her father (part of The Tribal Counsel), shouting back and forth, in the midst of nurses and doctors. Since I was not born to her mother's clan, or any other Navajo clan, but married into the clan; I'm surprised she and her father are demanding a singer, a healer, in this place so ugly, it must be one of the hospitals on the Reservation. Must be in worse shape than I thought. I ask her how the horse is; she shakes her head, no. Time seems to be unraveling; people's voices are dimming; I look for my wife and she is very far away. Calling to her, she moves so slowly I can see every detail of her angry beauty. She is running, slips a leather medicine pouch off her neck and onto mine. She places her hands on both of my legs; her lips move in Navajo. The pain goes away briefly, then darkness wraps its arms around the entire building. I never will regain any feeling in both legs; something whispered then hushed about helping to clean up after one of the mines collapsed, sickness in the blood....necrotic tissue in both feet, spreading upward. How can a man stand when they cut off his feet? I hope they let her end the horse's life according to the way of her people. This Jesus Way is brutal.

I'm watching crows gather in one tree as the wind blows from the north. There are days I feel it is the end of the beginning. But the beginning of what? My daily life is rather simple. I eat; I sleep; I sit on the porch waiting for her return. On some days, I carve boxes to sell at the souvenir shop. I don't know what to make of recent memories and dreams and the occasional feather. Would have given up long ago if it weren't for the damn feathers.


Sunday and raining lightly, I invariably think of my parents on Sundays, the whole missionary thing they lived and breathed. Not much of it rubbed off on me; I saw it as an intrusion into other peoples' souls. Even when I was young, I'd catch myself thinking, they're not that smart to know so much about God. Especially my mother, with barely an 8th grade education and some nursing skills taught by The Red Cross, especially when she would say things like, "If you open that door, you best close that door." She did keep our home very clean, but she rarely smiled or laughed. Complete opposite of my wild woman, my night rider, my dark angel with her secrets in the Jesus Box.

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