+Photography © Chad Parenteau


A War Papyrus Canto I


Too fulsome, too
Naive, it was to think
That that which was wrought
In hot flames of simmering
Remnants and debris
Of an emerging sun
And in cooling temperatures and time
Brought forth myriad life
But hardly teams,
Each devouring what it could for energy to live
As though being alive overrode the means
By which it was sustained,
Should one day have peace.

Were we fools, like children
With beliefs in an all giving Santa —
A Santa of physical and biological laws–
When at best the best bacteria
Over thousands of years
Became symbiotic like mitochondria
And intestinal microbes
And when the best galaxies
Were not surrounded by black holes.

And as to those boys,
Unwitting aggressors
Who only knew to invade
Our homeland hours
Before their incursions,
Only now do they regret
Their roles
While acting their parts
Ineffably, indelibly.

And we
In scorched earth policies
For the attrition of supply lines
And the tossing of Molotov cocktails
Onto their stalled tanks
Make ourselves as vile in action
As in inaction.
Hardly halcyon,
Was life, we think
Really worth living?


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

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine.