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Steven Shields


Every sticky molecule/ clings to another to form/ the sacred pattern/ of existence.

—Barry Marks

Yaldabaoth brought the donuts in on a silver platter. His mother Sophia scrutinized the tray with considerable suspicion.

“And just what are these things?” she frowned.
“I’ve never seen these before. What’s the matter with that one?” She pointed accusingly at one of the sugary rings on the far corner of the tray, which suddenly vanished.
“You ain’t seen ‘em before coz I just created ‘em!” he grinned. “I had some trouble with that one, though.”
A low strangling noise erupted from Pistis Sophia’s throat.
“And just who told you to make these things in the first place?” she asked angrily.
“Oh, Mom, what is the big flippin’ deal already?”

“You know what the Big Deal is, mister,” she intoned between clenched teeth. “Your father told you specifically not six days ago to stop all this universe-creation nonsense. It just makes more work for him to un-do and frankly he’s had just about enough of it.”

“And I suppose,” she continued, warming to her subject, “that you’ve also created some beings to live inside these—whatever you call them, donuts—and that about now they’re coming to consciousness and worshipping you, eh, Your Grace? When will you ever learn not to fool around like this?? A donut universe! Good God!”

Yes, I Am, said a Voice.


Steven Shields is author of two previous collections, Valentines for Many People (2012) and Daimonion Sonata (2005).  His work has appeared in Angle, Measure, Penwood Review, Raintown Review, Sleet, Tipton Poetry Review and Umbrella, among others.   Born and raised in Indiana, he holds BA and MA degrees from Ball State University and a Ph. D. from the University of Wisconsin.  He and his family live near Atlanta.