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Diane Glancy

The Bird Who Married a Blue Light

A story.

This is what my grandmother said: "He who is a windigo sees the other Indians as his totems. He sees anybody who has a bear for his totem as a bear, and so he kills and eats him, and so with someone who has the deer as his totem. If anyone has a beaver as his totem, that's how he sees him and so he kills and eats him."

And she said: "When it's beginning to be spring, perhaps in March, and it's starting to warm up, then it melts," she says, "the ice he must bear within himself," she says.

So he who is a windigo melts when it starts to warm up, then he recovers. He doesn't know much of what he did previously as a windigo. That's all.

—Maude Kegg,
"When Aazhawakiwenzhiinh
Almost Became a Windigo,"
from Nookomiks Gaa-inaajimotawid,

What My Grandmother Told Me

And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. —Acts 21:9

Our Lady of the Curlers. That's what we call Agoba, our sister. Her boyfriend is the unwanted lover of the lake. He calls to each wave, superior, and speaks to ships and freighters gone to their watery graves. Cordelio is Hispanic; his family came north for work. Agoba met him at church, but sometimes on Sunday morning, Cordelio goes to Mass at the Catholic church with his family. The cold, the cold is a god, he says. Cordelio calls the snow angels falling; there's no one left in heaven to do God's work, he worries. But God's work is done on earth, my father tells him. We snatch the lost from the fire: Jude 23. We are a blemish on Agoba's love feast. We sit in church and hear the testimonies: I chopped one tree shared the wood with my neighbor had wood all winter. I was in the lion's mouth. I was in the whale's belly and he spit me out on the shore at Little Marais. A church family has its trials just like others. Pentecostal Christianity is no guarantee against trials, though my father spells it trails in his sermon notes. When Agoba translates his handwriting into readable sermons, she corrects his misspellings.

Agoba was my father's grandmother's ...

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