Shadow Charm

When you place your mouth
to my ear

how does the ocean know
which wave

to relinquish?
In your darkness I find teeth.

Blessings of the meek-throated.

A ribbed tunnel. Codicil.

Your tongue scrawls: too late,
the unsaid     nerve-sparked and

dilated     too late

And my skin replies: with
lightning     all strikes

count     to each its charge


Forgetting Charm

Even your bones remember what you’ve long discarded.

This field of stone grows beyond sight.

In our house the tang of burnt sugars.

You say I love you in four languages I do not speak,
but never in the one I claim.

We light fires with stolen paper.

Douse them with stored rain.

Fragmented memories fill our cupboards.

Did I once know you?

Take these words from me.
Bury them in daylight.

 


Robert Okaji lives in Texas. He is the author of If Your Matter Could Reform (Dink Press, 2015) and From Every Moment a Second (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Posit, Panoply, Otoliths, Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art, West Texas Review, La Presa, and elsewhere.