Artwork © Sketchman Boris


A War Papyrus Canto II

And if in Butcha, yesterday,
It was as they allege—
Flechettes, lethal darts from artillery shells,
Reverberating upwards in ground-defying
Raining up on residents—
Now, on outskirts nearer to Kiev,
The projectiles are merely the downward
Specious purity that falls belligerently
But harmoniously, like a mad percussionist
On the tin awning of this makeshift hospital.

In a world such as this
Where what seems bad is
Sometimes serendipitous,
And what seems good in fruition
Rarely materializes beyond conception,
Who could say with certainty anything,
Let alone which is worse—
This place or death?
Would it not have been better
To have had no hospital care
Whatsoever—the Gangrene areas
Having been cut out in such a way that
Scalpel was no different than a rusted
When the only aesthetic was whiskey,
And the gangrene was the whole of the leg,
The amputated whole?
But it is as it is; adapt one legged man, if you
Care to live at all,
Or die. Bite the bullet, so to speak, to stunt
The pain.

Whether my mortal susceptibility will come
About this night
Is unclear with immune system being less
Active in the rain
And the miasma of bacteria and viruses
Downed and conjoined with the infections in
The amputated leg.
I can’t endure much more of this
Or the liquidated pounding of the roof and
Thus I should go out with the thicket of the pall of
The night.
How many more hours
There will be of existence
Beyond the days
After the medical severing of the limb,
God only knows, or if
The horror could drag on weeks
Before ultimate demise.

The purity that is thought of as the rain
Makes rain a misnomer.
The flechettes of precipitation shrapnel
Through the night skies in the reign of men.
Better if monkeys had gained hegemony,
Better if the rain would do more than speak
Of death
But bring it about hurriedly, instead of
Insidiously, and not just for me
But the whole warlike race (chimpanzee warfare,
Not gorilla warfare).

Pain pills rationed, screams are censored
When about to scream,
One needs to mute it by biting into a sock,
So the nurses say,
As they remove the bedpan—
My defecation also an outlier:
Crumbled dust, floating flakes in the fetid
Liquid nastiness of being
Like the pulverized state of me to be
When dead.

Inexorable rain, each drop imbued in the
Travail of memory and thought.
But storms such as this have always been
Mine to bear—
Family abuse, invective of sadists, and a child
Metamorphosed into a cockroach
At their heels
But with a bit of cotton candy of a few good
Card games and the like, with family members
During blizzards several years in a row,
Amongst other things, makes the abused
Want to return to what once was as though
It were worthy of replay.
Mother—Mom come to me. Mommy, I have
Lost my leg….the agony, both physical and
Is Unbearable…the child is in the man, and
Calls out to the maternal protector
And the paternal God, if any,
When the camouflage of manhood is
Emasculated, I am ashamed.

The pounding of the rain is a hypnotic
It would force even the healthy
Into their sordid, respective pasts.
Twenty years old, am I, but with
Relationships with women few
And having had fewer still—
All those future years of varied experiences
Nascent and coming about

Outside, rain mixes with dirt,
Slippery as ice,
World war.
Flatchettes of rain reigning supreme
And the Americans, with Europe,
Slide ever so slowly into the slime of a third

Rain down perpetually;
And entities,
Micro and macroorganisms alike,
Germs, insects, stray dogs, and men,
Are afraid.

Afraid of the creative force that comes
In wanton destruction
That once gave dinosaurs at one time,
Man another,
Destroying, producing, and destroying life


Steven David Justin Sills is a literary Writer whose book An American Papyrus is in numerous libraries.

Sketchman Boris is a cartoonist who does comic strips and aspires to create stories and publish more books than what he has published so far.