Verse – Robert Okaji

Memory and Closets


She came with the house.
A skull, spinal column, ribcage, tibia,
scapula – the list goes on, not quite to 206,
even including an extra lumbar vertebra.
Edna (long story) attended Halloween parties
and convivial gatherings, dressed in finery.
Silk suited her best, with linen falling just
behind. And hats! That green fedora,
like a parrot perched on a smiling egg,
never spoke, but stirred the conversation.


Old boots, worn left heel explaining the damaged meniscus.
Portable record player. Scratched vinyl.
Shopping bag of VHS tapes. Two empty scotch bottles.
The 30-year old suit that hasn’t been worn in 28 years.
Yellowed newspaper clippings of diet recipes.
The lost carton of wrapping paper.
A cheap guitar case, sans guitar.


If memory could speak, what would it not say?
Who else has rubbed this dust across his skin?
Only death is irrevocable.
In this darkness I find you.
Fearing withdrawal, we grow closer.
Things, and more things.
Everything we need travels with us.

Robert Okaji is a poet from Texas, United States.


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