TAHOMA AND NIKKI
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
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.
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.
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.
When will you learn to
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.