The LSD War
Lying next to him, he swears, when he woke in a cauldron of mosquitoes, was a Two-Stepper. I ask him what a Two-Stepper is. He ignores me and says that tigers feed on the dead. His pupils darken as he emphasizes the word, dead. The nurse's-aide next to me whispers, "Now, now, let's not get all worked up." He grumbles, "Viper." Then tells me how a man could take two steps before he died, a woman or child was granted only one. He reminds me of papa and his stories of Vietnam. Papa would be around his age if he were still alive today. He grabs my arm, urges me, "Join the navy. They got the best food." I nod my head and, as I edge past him and the memory clinic toward mama's room, I hear papa's slurred voice rise from the gray-blue past, "It was like a nightmare injected, an acid trip without end."
Chris Bays lives on the outskirts of an Audubon-sanctioned reserve in Ohio. When not recovering from a long night of screech owls, he is grading college students' essays or gallivanting around the country with family. His haiku and haibun have appeared in the Boston Literary Magazine, Contemporary Haibun Online, Frogpond, Haibun Today, Heron's Nest, and Modern Haiku. Shot Glass Journal has published some prose poems of his in the past. One of his Fibonacci poems was published in The Fib Review this past year. Some years back, Silenced Press nominated his minimalist sonnet for Best New Poets. This year, he has won 1st place for a haibun in a national contest sponsored by the Haiku Society of America for Best Unpublished Haibun of 2017. His winning poem will be forthcoming in the journal Frogpond.