ROBERT OKAJI

Photo: © Dave Whitinger 2007 (Dave Whitinger, CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons)

Love Note

Tell me why the clock ticks slower when we talk,
and how that particular flush of unreason and unsaying
lingers beneath the covers. Covertly, we discuss
sleepwear, and find mutual interest in scars, hands
and Ocean Vuong’s ability to elicit vibrations through
scattered words on the page. Even the flint-sparked
possibility of a kiss sends my heart surging into
overdrive, with bottle rockets and lightning strikes
exploding in the cortex. At my age! How do I
deserve this? I don’t ask. Like the Cat Stevens song
says, I am old, but I am happy. And that’s enough
for now. It was all so innocent, and continues to be,
but the wild side, with its combination of fear and the
expanding internal universe, tugs us into the mountains,
where research will be conducted. My vision board
has remained blank for so long, but now life and
possibilities populate it. And if we omit onion,
who knows what we’ll accomplish in the allotted time.
I question everything – the effects of gravity on bee
sex, how dopamine and serotonin trigger these actions,
and whether love is a universal affliction or malady
or blessing to those so joined – but I never doubt you.

Lace Cactus

Small, they grow in the lee stones,
invisible except when blooming.
Just as the vulture’s wings blot the sun
and the moment blinks away
in the bottle tree’s glare.
An incidental flick. A distraction.
Like every unspoken word
tumbling down that long hill.

Never Enough

Sometimes when I’m with you
my tongue swells or words
crumble into themselves, letters
and syllables tumbling about
the heap’s bottom in disarray.
I am filled with longing, with
lust and the fury of a hummingbird’s
wings, so fast, so much. I need
to retrieve the secret caress, the
unlocking tone, determine
which scent raises the stakes
or whether the mirror enhances
our beauty. The hours stretch
and still we can’t stop. There
is never enough. Never.

© Robert Okaji 2020

Robert Okaji no longer lives in Texas. He once owned a bookstore, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Vox Populi, The High Window, North Dakota Quarterly, Slippery Elm and elsewhere.