baby birds



What good is a rock
if the people fall, if truth

remains but no one
hears the long grass

rattle, and words
burst into flame

and gas, and life
poisons itself with

greed and the deficit
of compassion.

No body exists to bury.
I am trying to return

to a place of open
mouths, of nests and

groves left standing
despite their value

to the market. Which
pocket do I empty,

what song do I leave
unsung. Tomorrow

always becomes
yesterday, and today

flakes away into chilled
ash, carried over

rooftops and clouds,
never to be seen again.



“Returns” first appeared here in September 2017.

14 thoughts on “Returns

  1. Re: ” today / flakes away into chilled / ash, carried over / rooftops and clouds, / never to be seen again.” … I suspect it’s the limits of human perception that inhibit “seeing” now how yesterday influences now and tomorrow and beyond.
    I find truth (sure seems to me!) and inspiration in “No body exists to be buried.” I don’t exactly know what I’m meant to be doing right now, but I trust I’m one of life’s players up to and including my final act of dying.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Relative to the Okaji style, I find the imagery in this one more message-driven – for better or for worse – until the last full clause (“today / flakes …”), which puts us back into that signature zone where Okaji gives us imagery rich in meaning but without giving us a fixed meaning. He forces us to engage. You do well to place this piece at the end. Oh yeah, I forgot to say, “imho” 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t recall the circumstances surrounding the poem’s genesis, but from the timing I’d guess the opening days of the Trump administration had something to do with it, hence the more message-driven tone. Your opinion is always savored, Gary. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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