The Trouble of Not Learning to Say No

Instead of “no” she said:

When is she getting married? What if it’s raining or there’s an early snow?
What if my neighbor dies, and there’s four days?
You say you want a tent? You want to put it here?
What if the tent flies away or catches fire from the candles
You want to set up along the adobe wall and around
the perimeter?
And where will the tent come from? And who will bring it here,
set it up and take it down?
What if they have doings? And what if the neighbor dies?
I don’t want strangers walking around here, coming in and out of my house to set up
candles or the tent or a dessert table.
Who’s making all the desserts?
And you want it here? And where will you put all of it?
What if everyone comes from all over the country, even those Oklahomas and
the in-laws, the ex-laws and outlaws?
And where will everyone park, especially if the neighbor dies?
And you want to bring in the jazz singer who will sing in the tent
Surrounded by candles and all the in-laws, ex-laws and outlaws?
And what happens when the punch is spiked by every stash hidden in the dash of their trucks?
And then everyone starts dancing?
And they’re coming in and out of the house?
And what if the neighbor dies?

c Joy Harjo September 5, 2005

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