The White
Deborah Larsen

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The White


indigenous Americans (fiction)

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The White

Copyright © 2002 by Deborah Larsen

[ I ]

Buchanan Valley


Captured by the Shawnee raiding party and headed out across her family’s fields.

The fields stood in the mild April sun looking just as they did before her capture.

Mary stared: how could they look as they did? And she answered her own thought: because, the fields are just themselves.

Mary had managed: she had succeeded in installing in her mind the great, pale blankness of non-thought. It was an actual thing, that blankness: it hung there like a great pearly fish in deep water; it hung untouched by a sky the color of purple. By dint of the slow-motion lashings of its massive tail, this fish confused, unhinged, and scattered both certain idea and clear feeling.

[ II ]

The Ohio Valley


What of the power of hurt? And what, in the midst of that, of the power of someone’s unexpected touch and of their saying the one right word?

The word was “blood,” the blood was mine, the skin rubbed away by the cutting tool was mine, the pain was mine, the fingers were mine, the hand held by Slight-Wind was mine, the arm was mine, the body belonged to me alone.

In grasping the fact of my flesh I began to think again. My flesh was as a field: it had persisted in spite of me. I began to think more distinctly, it seemed, than I had ever thought before.

“I have noticed that you think many things, and events belong to you. You sound now as if you think that the game is for you. But the crossing game is only partly for you and for your benefit.”

[ III ]

The Genesee Valley


“If you told him your dream, I think he would understand and even join with you to get what you want. ‘If you do not do what your heart desires in America, what is the use of its being a free country?’ You yourself have said it.”

I do not know how much others suffer; whether it be more or less, whether it be deeper or shallower than the suffering I now own. Is there a right way to suffer? These things do not partake of measurement nor the comparisons that often lead to great, unfortunate levelings.



text checked (see note) Apr 2005

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