Unrequited Kopavi

Kopavi stood in the breeze, cooling from her labor of hanging raw buffalo meat to dry. She stared at Tuwa, their leader, and had mixed feelings about him. He was the most decisive of any of the Pochtecan men, and he was quiet in ways that made him seem both supremely confident and troubled. But he didn’t show the slightest bit of interest in her except as an arrow-maker.

“His heart’s somewhere else,” Yoowi said as she joined Kopavi in the cooling breeze. “He left a sweatheart behind somewhere.” Yoowi was older and said she’d given up on ever finding the affection of a man, and she had become like Kopavi’s aunt.

“Nothing I do gets his attention,” Kopavi said.

“And nothing you do will. He’s lost in his thinking and his grief. He is consumed by anger and revenge. He may never see another woman.”

But Kopavi was intent on making Tuwa see her. She knew he liked cornmeal dumplings he called Sweet Ladies, so she collected her saliva all day, mixed it with cornmeal and made him a half-dozen sweet dumplings.

He groaned in pleasure as he ate the first one and she stood close to him until he looked into her eyes. But she could not think of anything to say, and she watched him eat, the details of his delicate face as he chewed, his eyelashes in the sun as he smacked.

Tuwa thanked her and walked away and Kopavi stamped her foot at herself in frustration. When she turned to go she saw Yoowi shake her head.

“I’ll show you,” Kopavi muttered. “I’ll show both ofyou.”


Filed under Anasazi, Ancient Americans, Chaco Canyon, Chimney Rock, Historial Fiction

12 responses to “Unrequited Kopavi

  1. I enjoyed your story, and I can honestly say that I understand Kopavi’s frustration :-).

    I love the idea of using your blog to better understand your characters…the Q&A part is spectacularly clever. I look forward to reading more of your flash fiction AND reading your novel.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Anasazi Stories


      I tried to leave a comment on your #FridayFlash, “The Cave” (http://the2mara.blogspot.com/2009/06/cave.html), but I couldn’t get the code letters to show so it wouldn’t verify my post. Here’s what I wanted to say:


      I love the world you create in the scant space of your setting, with just a few characters, and with so little dialog. I imagine some post-apocalyptic remnant world in the future. Nicely done!

      • Thank you so much for reading it! That is exactly what I was going for. The post is part of a series of short stories I call The Weekend Wars.

        Those paintings will come into play much later… like discovering the paintings at Lascaux they will be a significant discovery 😉

        Thanks again!

      • Anasazi Stories


        Ah, I love having that little hint. The whole idea of it puts a wry smile on my face.

        I’ll give you a hint as well. My stories (story? They’re all permutations of one overall storyline) will eventually explain the origins of Kokopelli, the hump-backed flute player of Anasazi myth.


      • Jeff,

        Very cool! I can’t wait to read it.

  2. What a great concept for a blog, Jeff, and a neat way to flesh out your characters while building up your back stories. Best of luck on your novel.

  3. Laura

    That’s a nice idea to use your blog for secondary characters! Nice piece, you brought out the emotion.

    • Anasazi Stories

      Thanks, Laura. It’s always a fine balance to bring out emotion while still trying to be as accurate as possible to the historical setting. As my writing group keeps telling me, “More character development! Less description!”

  4. The way to man’s heart is not so simple here it seems. Kopavi is already a character you can care about. I like how the past you document here is mired in concerns still relevent today. Things change but human nature remains the same. Have you already covered Tuwa’s backstory, or is that to come?

    • Anasazi Stories

      Thanks, Dan. Oh, the complexities our secondary characters can weave …

    • Anasazi Stories

      Dan: Thanks for the comment. Tuwa is the main character in my novel, and I’m using this blog as, essentially, my workspace for secondary characters. I used to write detailed character descriptions, even Q&A interviews with them. Now I’m experimenting with writing flash fiction about them or from their POV, both as an exercise to illuminate my novel’s story and to slowly build a marketing platform for when I publish. I don’t pretend to really know what I’m doing. I’m just making it up as I go along. It’s fun. That’s the main thing, right?

      I enjoyed your flash piece of today about the commute — all the way into the hallways of the office. Nicely done.

      I’m off to work now.


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