two poems by Charles O’Hay

Charles O’Hay


I never met my grandfathers.
From one I inherited a medal,
from the other, addiction.

The medal I keep in a felt-lined
box. The addiction is harder
to contain.

For fifteen years it ran wild,
breaking windows, promises,

So I built it a cage
from items found around my mind
where it paces in shadow.

My bequests: one
I can always sell. The other
I can’t give away.


Thank you for all the wings
and legs. I wish I could tell you

they went to a good cause
like a map to the center of God.

I regret the looking glass
used to point the sun’s accusations

at you. It was something
I read in a magazine. Sorry also

to the ants for feeding you
to the spider just to see the joy

in her dozen tiny eyes.
I was young and mistook it

for love.

Charles O’Hay is a past recipient of a fellowship in poetry from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His work has appeared in over 100 journals, including Cortland Review, New York Quarterly, and Gargoyle. His first collection, Far from Luck, was published in 2011 by Lucky Bat Books (Reno, NV) and is available on

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