Where Grief Falls

Open one jar, close another.
Fill this, empty that.
The heart is a pump, not

a receptacle of emotion.
Knowing this, I watch
the grass decompressing
in his footprint’s shape,

leaves unfolding, weak
and bruised, but rising
because they must. Someone
clears the shelf, and I think

that simply replacing the
missing is not the goal.
Move this hand, stroke

the chin, button a new
shirt, shine shoes, plead
silently. Make it go away.
The heart continues its work.

Photo by The Ian on Unsplash

Robert Okaji

Robert Okaji is a half-Japanese Texan living in Indiana. He holds a BA in history, served without distinction in the U.S. Navy, endured the hand-to-mouth existence of a bookstore owner, toiled as a university administrator, and most recently bagged groceries for a living. He is the author of multiple chapbooks, including the 2021 Etchings Press Poetry Prize-winning My Mother's Ghost Scrubs the Floor at 2 a.m., and his poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art, Boston Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Wildness, Vox Populi, The Night Heron Barks, Indianapolis Review, Book of Matches, Slippery Elm and elsewhere.

Keep up with Robert on Twitter or at his blog.