Self-Portrait as Smudge

by Robert Okaji

Being this cloud on the otherwise
transparent pane, I resist removal,
smearing myself in thinner layers, 
still shrouding the angry sky 
or the fence post's sagging 
doubt, which is to say
my appearance may lessen
but spread, that you may rub me
out, but I'll return, always,
beginning with that one small
and delicious obscure point.

The Inevitable 

by Robert Okaji

The refusals I hold closest
scrape my memories the worst,

the way night slips 
past dusk

or a word takes on new meaning
and the doorknob won’t turn.

Stop, you say. Try again.
Run around the block. Talk.

Morning won’t wait.

———
Robert Okaji lives in Texas and occasionally works on a ranch. The author of five chapbooks, most recently, I Have a Bird to Whistle (Luminous Press, 2019), his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Claw & Blossom, North Dakota Quarterly, Panoply, Slippery Elm and elsewhere.