Hic Sunt Leones, Toti O’Brien

Mark Terry, “Three hours in,” n/a, Noble Hill Anagama





Wolves, big cats, large carnivores
are desperate soldiers, not kings or knights.
Often living in bare and forsaken regions
their fate is endless hunting
ferocity an ultimate necessity.
Preys are way too big or risibly small
run too fast or herd in such number
that a slight pack of predators
stands no chance.
Most of their fights are failures.
If they lose and survive, crippled, weakened
they are bound to a long march
towards the next struggle.
They don’t complain. About dignity?
What does constant defeat feel like?
An empty gut, cramping. A crazed engine
stuck in the top gear, pushing forwards.
No time for checks and balances.
No room for inventories.
Past ignominy doesn’t leave a trace.
Exhaustion gives them a dry tongue
makes their denture sensitive.
As they run they don’t exchange comments.
Weary of conversation
they save air for one battle cry.
When lids drop on the dusty globes
of their famished eyes
their sleep is compact, dreamless.

Toti O’Brien

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