Perhaps the World Ends Here: Joy Harjo


Joy Harjo


The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat

to live.


The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it

has been since creation, and it will go on.


We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the cor-

ners. They scrape their knees under it.


It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be

human. We make men at it, we make women.


At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.


Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our

children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as

we put ourselves back together once again at the table.


This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.


Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the

shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.


We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for

burial here.


At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering

and remorse. We give thanks.


Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laugh-

ing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.



Harjo, Joy (1994) `Perhaps the World Ends Here’, in The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., New York, p. 68.

Used with permission.