Chapter I: Mapping the Reservation

From Chapter I: Mapping the Reservation

Sometimes every night sound seems a beginning, and I lie in the dark straining for words spoken just beyond my hearing. By morning my neck and back are stiff; all day my vision blurs, my eyes try to pierce through to meaning. Sometimes the landscape wavers and shimmers—looking through bad glass or the heat waves over a highway in summer would be the same—and pain moves from my forehead backwards across my skull: then oblivion—no sight, no hearing, no sense of touch. Things exist still but the connections are broken and I have no words, no meanings, I see no solid objects. Later—an hour, days—I feel sick, drunk-every-night-hung-over.

I listen to the old people. They say, in the old days men went out to fast, to seek out those voices just beyond hearing. Their vision would blur and they would pierce through to another world, come back with knowedge I come back with a hang-over. And this: that some member of the Tribe is in trouble.