Manzano Mountain Review is an online New Mexico literary journal affiliated with UNM-Valencia.

Ghazal of the Half


by Robert Okaji

He no longer can raise both fists,
though for a time he rode a motorcycle
and crouched like a coiled beast.

When half an arm snapped off 
left him unable to hold on
to the machine or the gun 

that came as an accessory, 
he became useless as a toy.
Never a toy: more like a role, 

a possible self, a way to behave.
Helmeted and muscular, even 
where scraped raw by gravel 

and unrecognizable debris 
what can be encountered
by following the roads out there,

his eyes remain ever shielded 
as if the world is just 
as it always was—ever bright.

Robert Okaji is a half-Japanese poet living in Texas. The author of five chapbooks, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Vox Populi, North Dakota Quarterly, Underfoot Poetry and elsewhere.