Robert Okaji lives in Texas. The author of the chapbook If Your Matter Could Reform, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Posit, Shantih, Platypus Press, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, High Window, Panoply, Eclectica, Into the Void and elsewhere, and may also be found at his blog, https://robertokaji.com.
I picture them always separate, unfilled, never nested among the others.
In descending order: yellow, green, red. The missing blue.
Concave, hollow, hemispherical, freed of conscience.
Other images – the skies, denser with age.
You stirring with a wooden spoon, cigarette smoldering nearby.
Or the itinerant smell of new sod and wet soil.
My knee aches whenever I traverse stairs or turn quickly.
Which holds more grief, these vessels or memory’s lapse?
Inverted, their capacity remains constant as the heavens, dark or light.
The paling dome, a memory of freshly pulled onion.
Squatting, you would patiently pluck weeds.
I bite my tongue and kneel to place the flowers.
Near this stone, where the crickets chirr and dew worms burrow.
By this mound and these blades of near-silent grass.
Where I accept this moment’s offering. And you do not.
Nocturne with Flame
Not imposition, but welcome.
Another’s stirred embers, banked
and forming the kindling’s base.
Thus the licked paper curling with smoke,
stars shooting into the blackness,
and finally, exploding light
transformed to heat.
From one’s loss, another’s gain.
The flickering on my cheek.
Inhaled bitterness and memory.
The wait, the period before.
Like the owl in the live oak,
or the mice under our floor
returning, I celebrate the cycle,
and grow warm.