Chicken Dance

IMG_1501I went to the exhibit; I met everyone in U of I’s indigenous drum group and asked their names and Tribal affiliation, stating mine. A handsome singer, a Coeur d’Alene Chicken Dancer, drove me home and told me bad rez jokes, Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie on the floor of his beat-up pick-up. My, my.

He told me, “You’re beautiful; come be beautiful around me.”

Later, he fucked me, his intensive thrusting in no way indicative of his dance training, his sweet singing, and I was sorry for it, and dry as the prairies where he danced with all that passion.


Misty Ellingburg is an Indigenous woman of the Northwest coast, a tribal dancer, and an MFA student. She has been published in VIne Leaves, Specter Magazine, eFiction, The Bigfoot Review, Lingua: Journal of the Arts, We Are Native, Paddle Press, and other noteworthy literary journals. She has won the Kay Snow award in Adult Fiction, 2012, and the Katie Herzog award in Young Adult, 2007. For more, see Misty’s blog, Body Electric.

Photo credit: Anrky

11 Responses to “Chicken Dance”

  1. Love this story. Read it in The Best Small Fictions 2015 and mentioned it in my review of that anthology at Amazon and Goodreads.

    Great stuff Misty! Keep it up! Will be looking for more!

  2. Gay Degani says:

    Brava! This resonates. So much in the Sherman Alexie reference and the last lines: perfect.

  3. Katie says:

    This was absolutely amazing. In only 100 words you said so much.

  4. Rosalie says:

    I am impressed that you made me feel the way I did in only 100 words. And that 100 words could leave me with so many lingering thoughts. Beautiful(no surprise).

  5. Allen Barber says:

    Oh Misty…this is wonderful. A rather unfortunate situation written in an incredibly beautiful way. You have such talent!

  6. Brogan Woodburn says:

    Wow. That is incredible.

  7. Elizabeth Mathers says:

    A very relevant short story that speaks of the discontinuity between Native and Tribal traditions in the context of a Westernized society. No way can any mere mortal, any mere sexual act, fulfill (refill, perhaps) the void which traditional Coeur d’Alene Chicken Dancing can. Beautiful, eloquent, the language allows the scene to unfold before my eyes, fills in the blanks, leaves me wanting nothing more. Brava.

  8. Karly Schiewetz says:

    I can feel the sincerity in every word. The inherent Native perspective is palpable.

  9. I liked this a lot. It was short but told an interesting story with good tension from beginning to end. Awesome.

  10. Dusty says:

    Hard. But a very good short. It’s hard to put a well rounded anecdote into 100 words, but you did it.

  11. Sarah Quallen says:

    Misty beautifully and simply expresses dissatisfaction with the consequence of immediate and intense physical attraction, which is – I think – a more common and frequent occurrence than often admitted.

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