Robert Okaji no longer lives in Texas. He served in the U.S. Navy without distinction, and once worked in a library. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tistelblomma, Panoply, Vox Populi, Juke Joint and elsewhere.
In that before-September haze I knew
the birds’ names but not their language,
I saw green in the distance while grass
grew tall and light never lingered.
Questions catered my moons. Answers
hid between sunbursts. My lips formed
soundless words and glass crunched
underfoot everywhere I walked.
Nothing sparkled under the skies.
Even gemstones and feathers in morning
dew dulled the day’s arc, printing
their notes of lonesome protest in rock
shade and tree droop, in acquiescence
in quietude. And then you spoke.