Agave

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Agave

It might deceive.
Or like a cruel

window, live its life
unopened,

offering a view
yet reserving the taste

for another’s
tongue, ignoring

even the wind.
The roots, as always, look down.

* * *

This first appeared in Ijagun Poetry Journal in December 2013, was featured in poems2go in April 2016, and is also included in my micro-chapbook, You Break What Falls, available for download from the Origami Poems Project: http://www.origamipoems.com/poets/236-robert-okaji

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Review of Robert Okaji’s Chapbook, “From Every Moment A Second”

The first post-publication review of From Every Moment a Second!

panoply, a literary zine

Please enjoy the following review of Robert Okaji’s new chapbook, “From Every Moment A Second.” Editor-in-Chief Jeff Santosuosso examines Robert’s magical, hopeful portrayal of how things, events, and time are interrelated. We hope you will take a closer look at Robert’s work!

(This is our second chapbook review. We plan to review a new chapbook between each each of Panoply.)

OkajiChapbookFrom Every Moment A Second, by Robert Okaji
Published by Finishing Line Press
ISBN 978-1-63534-331-1
20 pages
$14.99

Submitted by Jeff Santosuosso
December 2017

Those who enjoy poetry that reveals much by saying little should check out Robert Okaji’s new chapbook, From Every Moment a Second. Okaji masters white space, implication, presence and absence in this pithy yet brief collection. He mines themes of humans and nature, their adjacency and interdependence. He presents the cycles of life, of change and transformation, not only among beings themselves, but as they interact…

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With No Mountain in View

 

With No Mountain in View

Like a mirage, you shift ever forward,
blonde hair concealing your eyes, one
long leg draped over the chair’s arm,
a reminder of inconstancy and promises
constructed to collapse. Such power,
such wisdom, at seventeen.
Through the window I see
horses in the paddock, a lone
figure by the road, and steam
rising from the earth. Your voice,
as it was, and mine, as it never sounded,
merged only in fantasy. Something
crumbles at the edge. A crow flaps away.

“With No Mountain In View” is included in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available for order now via Amazon.com and Finishing Line Press.

Take Away

 

Take Away

Take away the blackness,
what does night become?

Remove arugula’s bitterness,
the reddened prints on a slapped
cheek, or yeast from leavened bread.

The coroner’s mask denies emotion.

We possess no less now than we did then.
One hand holds the root, the other, a trowel.
Soil, compost. Ash. Water, dreams. Renewal.

The economy of dying continues.

One mother stands alone, cradling pain in
both arms. The second shares her shadow.

“Take Away” is included in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available for order now via Amazon.com and Finishing Line Press.

Flood Gauge in the Morning

 

Flood Gauge in the Morning

It reclines on its side, submerged.
So far, so good, it seems
to say. Still here, still intact.
And the bridge looks so clean
from this angle
underwater.

I toss
a fist-size stone
onto the upstream
side of the road,
and watch it wash away.
Maybe we’ll cross tomorrow.

“Flood Gauge in the Morning” is included in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available for order now via Amazon.com and Finishing Line Press.

If Ahead I See

 

 If Ahead I See

Gray skies filtered through light,
eyes adapting space,
the possibilities of the

horizon or a foot
lashing out in reflex,
what do I learn?

The house finch sings as if
all air will expire at song’s end.

Falling, I release this misplaced trust.
The path, muddied and crowded with fools.

“If Ahead I see” is included in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available for order now via Amazon.com and Finishing Line Press.

Flame

 

Flame 

Drifting, she passes through the frame.

Reshapes borders, edges.

The way smoke scribes a letter in the sky with
gases and particulates. Intractable. Impermanent.

But not like a risen corpse
yet to accept its body’s stilling, or
the flooded creek’s waters taking
a house and the family within. Some things

are explainable. This morning you drained
the sink, and thunder set off a neighbor’s alarm.

From every moment, a second emerges.

Picture a man lighting a candle where a home once stood.

“Flame” is included in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available for order now via Amazon.com and Finishing Line Press.