There is still room
to disobey. The frog
sometimes escapes
the snake. The buffalo
sometimes gores the lion.

And the lion walks through
the tall grass moaning
and blown through
like a hole in death’s side.

Then it knows what it’s like
to be stalked, to be chased,
to be shaken by the neck
by a predator it can’t see.

There is still room to disobey.
Throw away your television.
Throw away your phone.
Delete your profile.
Scrub your shadow from the wall.
Close your bank account.
Build your mind.

Lower your horns.
The lion is coming.


If you row out far enough
you’ll know.
If you row out beyond the fear
of unemployment, the fear
of living without other people,
the fear of being unloved
or unlovable.

Then you’ll know.

You may not like
the person you find,
but it will be you.
No fluff, no filters,
no rabbits pulled from hats.

Not many ever row that far.
Most don’t even think about it.
They play golf. They play
the market. They sip their drinks
along the shore and worry
whether their clothes fit properly.

But sometimes, if you look,
you’ll see one out there,
beyond the breakers.
He won’t be singing.
And if you wave,
he won’t wave back.

He’ll just keep on

Charles O’Hay is the author of two collections—Far from Luck (2011) and Smoking in Elevators (2014)—both published by Lucky Bat Books. His work has appeared in over 125 literary publications including Gargoyle, Riprap, Cortland Review, and The New York Quarterly.