Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

Evil; My Country Isn’t

Evil; My Country Isn’t
Photograph via Flickr by Tim Green
You look like someone just squished your kitten
on purpose. Come sit down, what’s wrong
with the world has always been wrong. It’s you
who are changed now. The world is the same
as yesterday when it retired to a quiet corner
of its cage with your kitten, in love and immensely
shy, sighing low as it lipped a reticulate leaf
and gazed with a rapt and dumb tenderness. Now
you gaze off into space in sorrow and despair
at something no longer there, because something
that was always there and will always be there
is picking its teeth with the same leaf in a different
corner now. You used to say there is no evil, only
lack of love. You will say it’s just semantics now
that nothing anyone can say means anything at all.
My country isn’t
My country insn’t
my country because
I’m not myself.
I haven’t been myself since
I don’t know when.
My mother said
just be yourself.
My father was
himself all his life
and everyone loved him.
But I loved
the smell of the rain
before the rain
more than the rain itself.
And I lived
in the country of
myself all my life.
The food was bad.
The language odd.
The peace unsteady.
So I moved
to the country of
I’m not myself.
To the country of
I don’t know who
and I don’t know what
I am. And I am
finally home.
There always was
that side of me
That is the side
that I am on.
I love my country.
I would die for my country.
But my country isn’t
my country and I am
not myself.