Purple Hills
by Steve Klepetar

My own country, country of rivers
and high grass, country of crocs
that speak in whispers to green birds

that hide in the swamps
of the mind. That is where I raise
my flag, where I grow my plants

and squeeze them into oil.
This is what I sell, pressed into hand
cream and soap, and what I eat

ground into flour and baked into loaves.
And the purple hills – that is where
I tramp, footsore in the evening

listening to birches as they groan
in their white hoods. This is my country,
my clear liquor, the colors of the badge

I wear as I wade in the shallow lagoon.
See my hat floating on the water
as sun melts behind aspen and pine?

That means I’m down there in the mud
of my country, trying to breathe, trying to
change my ways, speaking the language of crabs.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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