For my part, I wanted to live a little longer,
despite the world as I knew it: burnt
leather, coin-operated laundromat,
the constant wreckage. At the symphony
an old man fell asleep next to me,
while Carmina Burana
crooned of uncertainty, certain
fatelessness. In life, I believed him
a vagabond: vague movements reminiscent
of Trevi fountain pigeons. I named him
Goliath—his robust breath having ravaged
the symphony’s intermittent stillness. Afterwards,
the evening & its stillness. I walked into
it—the park lights lit shapelessness making
what it willed of my body.
How the stake prepares for the horseshoe—
knows its violent affection. When the ringer comes
the stake submits to its ringing.
This is how I give myself away.

Daniel T. O'Brien is a New York native currently living in Columbus, OH. His work has recently appeared, or is forthcoming, in American Literary Review, Banango Street, BLOOM, The Boiler, Prelude, and Sequestrum. He is a recipient of the 2016 Vandewater Prize and the 2015 Helen Earnhart Harley Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from The Ohio State University, where he is currently an MFA candidate and serves as Poetry Editor for The Journal and Managing Editor for The Journal/OSU Press Book Prize Series. He has been a finalist for the American Literary Review Poetry Contest and the Red Hen Press Poetry Award.