Charles Tarlton

 

 

 

TAHOMA AND NIKKI

 

FADE IN:
MONTAGE OF SHOTS

 
1) Bright sun overhead in a cloudless sky.
2) Dying flowers in a dry garden bed.
3) Shimmering mirages on a desolate highway.
4) The Navajo-Nation Bank digital thermometer reads “108°F

COYOTE

a little tin house

sits in the desert of hours

only tiny tales

to tell. As we look inside

the moment becomes pregnant

 

EXT. A DESERT MOBILE HOME, PORCH AND SCREEN DOOR – DAY

NIKKI, a seven-month old wooly black poodle stands at the screen door, looking out into the yard. Her tongue hangs out and she is panting.

TAHOMA, about 16, in a tank top and undershorts, comes up behind the dog, shoves the screen open, moves past the dog, and steps down into the yard.

Nikki follows eagerly, jumping and mouthing Tahoma’s hand as he walks over to a hose with a spray nozzle.

Tahoma turns on the faucet and a fan of water rushes out, making rainbows in the sunshine.

 

COYOTE

the driest sand dunes

are in the mind (I almost

said in someone’s heart

we roamed fearlessly back then

through the long cold desert nights

 

He turns the spray on Nikki, who jumps and runs away, shaking her head.
Tahoma comes closer, trapping the dog in the corner of the porch.
At first, Nikki tries desperately to get away, but Tahoma blocks her path every time.

 

COYOTE

love is some magic!

hold the mother wracked with birth

with every action

comes the wondering. Did they

do this and the same way back then?

 

Finally, Nikki gives in and just stands there as the cold water hits her, drenches her thick black coat, and runs in rivulets to the ground.

Out of sight, Coyote watches.

Eventually, Nikki turns her face fully into the water.

 

TAHOMA

When will you learn to

trust me?

FADE OUT.

 

 

 

 

Charles Tarlton is retired from university teaching and has been writing tanka prose (and poetry more generally) full time since 2006. His wife, Ann Knickerbocker, (http://artistinanaframe.blogspot.com) is  an abstract painter and they and work in Northampton, Mass.

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