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360 Chapter 8: Indigenous Fantasy and SF  On Drowning Pond  Allison Hedge Coke Allison Hedge Coke is of Huron, Cherokee, French Canadian, Portuguese, Irish, and Scottish heritage and was raised in North Carolina, spending time also inTexas, Canada , and the Great Plains. As a young person, she worked in tobacco fields, later in factories, and wrote about her experiences in her memoir, Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer (2014). Hedge Coke is an accomplished poet and short-story author, as well as a musician , film director, and teacher. Her 1997 poetry collection, Dog Road Woman, won the American Book Award, and she received the Writer of the Year Award for Poetry from theWordcraft Circle of NativeWriters and Storytellers for both BloodRun (2008) and Off-Season City Pipe (2005). She has held teaching appointments at Naropa University , the University of California–Riverside, and the University of Central Oklahoma, and served as Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Hawai’i–Mānoa. “On Drowning Pond”was originally published in IndianCountryNoir, a collection of fiction aimed at highlighting Indigenous contexts in the United States. Noir is a sub-genre of the Hardboiled form, defined by tough-guy protagonists (usually detectives ), who bear witness to the crime and violence that lurk beneath the city. Hedge Coke borrows from some of the major tropes of the Hardboiled but tells the story through the eyes of a victim, or bystander, as opposed to a detective.Throughout the story, the unnamed protagonist tells the tragic story of Jolene and Jimmy, remembering the latter’s beauty and strength, while also gesturing toward the vulnerability of Indigenous women in a colonial landscape.“On Drowning Pond”is haunting and poetic, bringing together the aesthetics of Noir with the settings of“Indian Country” to illustrate the structural violence that lurks beneath urban centres—threatening, most particularly, the lives of Indigenous women.  I saw Jimmy earlier this week. Just before the discovery of yet another fallen victim to the drowning way. He was still the same Jimmy, drunk—wasted. Crouched on the curb across from the market with a half-dozen longtime cronies and their women. Women who have been on the down edge so long their bodies have masculinized and hunched with the depression of life lost to drink, hard sex, smoke. I saw him and I remembered Jolene, her beautiful smiling face, shining hair. Thought of her unrelinquished love for a man who’d only one wife in his heart. Thought of this bottle he’d fully committed to, of his smell, his ways. How she must have longed for him. Leaving her there the way he did, looking down on her maybe, thinking he was quite the man for taking the young passionate breath she’d had, in his making over of her brown body. Thought of his sudden losses of memory, and willingness to go on in life so soon and in such 258802-2 9781771123006_text_REV_TXT_Ok12216134327587724906_1_2_378-378_PG 1_2017-05-10_11:01:50_K Allison Hedge Coke 361 close proximity to her passing, and I wondered if he ever as much as poured a drink on the ground in her memory, or if he held that drink so precious to himself even a gulp would be too much to spare. I saw him and I watched the walkers, those who’ve taken to carrying signs and speaking out against the assailants they believe they’ll recognize once they stay the vigil until another passing. And I remembered how Jolene was always a private woman and doubted she would show her smiling face in a crowd this immense—especially among the sober living. The waters may look still today, but each time I glance across the creek, use my peripheral vision, for a moment her easy presence forms here, waiting. It’s here I leave some hope for her, a few presents now and then, and ask her to go easy on us—the living. Here, too, I vow to follow him, take him down to the water one night, bring her Southern Comfort.  Jolene came to mind just this morning, how the light illuminated the walking bridge rail above her resplendent body. The shining of her deep black hair, under the water, on the morning they found her two dozen years ago. Right here in the thick of Brooklyn Alley. Just west/northwest from the Double Door Inn and over from the Broken Bank, Marshall Park. I remember how she always smiled when asking for “just a few quarters to...


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