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August Rain Drowning in air, I stumble in thigh-high grass. Every day, the clattering whine swells. Larvae detach from my skin, leaving behind welts. The diamondback esses through the decorative rocks, seeking shelter, seeking prey. Dessicated leaves flutter in yellow light. I drink beer, cook meat, scratch my wounds. Hear black words in the sifted flow. Self-Portrait as Mistake Afterthought and its offspring, regret and dismay. The thoughtless turn, the wrong bolt for the right nut. How many choices would we unmake, rewind to their births? Like a surgeon removing the wrong limb, or that one word affixed to the bayonet and plunged back into memory's body. I whisper to myself, acknowledge the deeds, those lives unknown till now. Nolo Contendere Quiet, we walk in the gutter. The sun is a tangerine on the flat roof, old trees droop ahead. The male grackle fans his tail feathers. I cannot see the difference in shade and hole, in the circumference of right and our polished untruths. A dog barks from behind a door. The moist breeze fails to cool. I do not want to hold your hand. We've watched yesterdays skid by, piling up at the bottom, bruising their cheeks, twisting ankles. What's wrong, you ask. I've breathed your dream too long, I say. Now I must wake. Somehow Dawn I don't know what to say. Or how. Feeling that I am on the upslope, not close. Not wrong. I want to be that hollowed space in the hackberry's trunk, the calm of darkened light. And more. Some honey, dripped from the spoon. A house finch, fluttering. I will whittle my losses, carve out needs. She will tell me the history of our days. She will smile, engrave her initials on my chest. Somehow, the birds still sing. Somehow, dawn trickles in. Dry Well I trace the symbols. In the dirt, among the grubs and crooked weeds. Writing of loss. Of missing things. Wondering if words will fill my mouth with wool or grit. With pebbles and salt. If truth is what I want.
Copyright 2019 Robert Okaji