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The Flicker, a poem by Robert Okaji



The Flicker

I offer memory, and the pain burns colder.

That morning, sleet, hail, fog,

love – nothing edible defiled 

our lips. Even the air invoked weight.

Swallowing became privilege, the fruit of scarcity.

Still, I wanted to take, to pocket that blur.

Driving through the gray, I imagined dying.

I imagined a flicker at the end of a long tunnel,

the beginning of anger, of want. I could almost

see you reclaiming shape, form. Water relies 

on deceit for its color, breaking white, then

clear, summoning early visions. What is past

has passed. Blue exits your mouth in waves.

Robert Okaji is a displaced Texan seeking work in Indiana. 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 Book of Matches, Juke Joint, One Art, Clade Song, Vox Populi, Indianapolis Review, and elsewhere.