Robert Okaji

Koan of Shivers

I shape my best hours alone,
squinting through glass, remembering
white pear blossoms surrendering
their bodies to wild winds, a koan

of shivers scraping the backbone
with a filed tooth, dismembering
each spiny segment, scattering
petals, all lost in the null zone.

What’s found between these moments? I
place my hand in the vice, rotate
the knob, knowing what will happen.

That blaze will diminish. The eye
will leak salt. Pupils will dilate.
Look: my windblown self, laid open.

Robert Okaji is a displaced Texan living in Indiana. He no longer owns a bookstore, and once won a goat-catching contest. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Juke Joint, Vox Populi, North Dakota Quarterly, Into the Void, and elsewhere.

Next poem

Previous poem

Winter 2021