If You Drop Leaves

 

If You Drop Leaves

If you drop leaves when she walks by,
does that signify grief for those
cut down early,

or merely drought?
How easily we abandon and forget.

Yet a whiff of lemon verbena or the light
bouncing from a passing Ford
can call them back,

tiny sorrows ratcheted in sequence
above the cracked well casing

but below the shingles
and near the dwindling shade
tracing its outline on the lawn.

And what do you whisper
alone at night within sight
of sawn and stacked siblings?

Do you suffer anger by way
of deadfall or absorption,

bark grown around and concealing
a penetrating nail, never shedding
tears, never sharing one moment

with another. Offered condolences,
what might you say? Pain earns no
entrance. Remit yourselves.

 

* * *

“If You Drop Leaves” was published at Bad Pony in November 2017. Many thanks to editor Emily Corwin for taking this piece.

If You Drop Leaves

 

If You Drop Leaves

If you drop leaves when she walks by,
does that signify grief for those
cut down early,

or merely drought?
How easily we abandon and forget.

Yet a whiff of lemon verbena or the light
bouncing from a passing Ford
can call them back,

tiny sorrows ratcheted in sequence
above the cracked well casing

but below the shingles
and near the dwindling shade
tracing its outline on the lawn.

And what do you whisper
alone at night within sight
of sawn and stacked siblings?

Do you suffer anger by way
of deadfall or absorption,

bark grown around and concealing
a penetrating nail, never shedding
tears, never sharing one moment

with another. Offered condolences,
what might you say? Pain earns no
entrance. Remit yourselves.

“If You Drop Leaves” was published at Bad Pony in November 2017. Many thanks to editor Emily Corwin for taking this piece.

Day Fifteen, Tupelo Press 30/30 Project: Halfway There!

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Halfway There!

When I signed on to produce a poem a day for thirty consecutive days, I wasn’t certain what to expect but fear and exhaustion. Although I write daily, I seldom complete more than four to six poems in an entire month, and even then they “marinate” for weeks or longer before seeing the light of day. Yet here we are on day fifteen, with fifteen new poems. I can’t claim they’re all complete – some feel right, others seem almost there, while still others need work. Imagine that! Fifteen poems in fifteen days. Only fifteen more to go.

“Cutting Down the Anniversary Pine” is among the Day Fifteen offerings of the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project (9 poets have agreed to write 30 poems apiece in 30 days, to raise funds for Tupelo Press, a non-profit literary publisher). Many thanks to Greg Alspach, who sponsored and provided the title.

Cutting Down the Anniversary Pine

Things expand. Plans change. Clouds disperse,
people move. I remember swimming

through a dream’s warm water, and rising…

To see the rest of the poem, click here

Tomorrow’s poem is titled “Setting Fire to the Rose Garden,” thanks to the kindness of Lily June, who provided the title.

I hope that the sponsored titles and my responses to them have been entertaining, but other sponsorship opportunities abound. For information on these and their corresponding incentives, click here.

“Name That Poem” sponsorships are still available for Wednesday and beyond. Conjure up a title (be creative, be weird, be gentle, be poetic, oh, heck, be mean if you wish), donate $10 to Tupelo Press, let me know what the title is, and I’ll write the poem. The  sponsored poems thus far have been a blast to write, and the titles have led me to poems I’d not otherwise have written. If you’re so inclined, please visit the 30/30 blog at: Donate to Tupelo. Scroll down to “Is this donation in honor of a 30/30 poet?” and select my name, “Robert Okaji,” from the pull down so that Tupelo knows to credit the donation to me. And please let me know as soon as possible what your title is.

Thank you for your support! Only 15 poems to go!