Look: my windblown self, laid open,
or, another insolent word
like the wing of that crested bird
rephrased and tossed aside, broken.
This hill is a rocky ocean
of thorn and desire, absurd
in winter's glaze, another slurred
and curtained morning forgotten.
Now lost habitats surround me.
Dead brush and loose skin drape my nights.
Remember, what is past, has passed.
The kettle whistles. I pour tea,
think of who I was. Oh, the delights
of leaving: nothing ever lasts.
Set it aside, regret, heal. Grieve
till the soil's ebony heart
devours your secrets. Believe,
in agony, what falls apart,
disintegrates at your feet. Art
rends your flesh: nervous I transmit
false signals, flinch when I should start,
weep when I should wave, counterfeit
my life's lessons. Mosquitoes flit
through the unscreened window. Do I
ever claim this life as misfit,
as hopeful dupe? Watch the man lie
and conspire. Swat at the bugs. Lift
the mottled spade. Accept this shift.
Robert Okaji is a displaced, half-Japanese Texan living in Indiana. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Panoply, Vox Populi, Slippery Elm and elsewhere.