On March 19, 2017, the young and very accomplished poet Okla Elliott passed away unexpectedly in his sleep. He was also a novelist, fiction writer, translator, translator, and teacher, in academia and beyond. I discovered his poetry from Subtropics, where I read the first poem below.
The Patience of the Land Mine
Weeds grow over rusty death
in a field no crops
but many flowers
will populate. The land mine dreams
the sweetness of a child’s foot
or a dog’s paw to depress
its small detonator, dreams
the echoing boom
and the wet bloom of meat and bone.
It dreams its dream for years, decades,
does nothing but dream,
and never grows tired.
But I only experienced his considerateness firsthand when I published a review in the same issue of Tupelo Quarterly Review as he did, after which we became Facebook friends. It seemed as if I merely blinked, maybe twice, and he was gone. What a loss! This article gives an idea of how much he is missed and his legacy, as well as another of his fine poems.