I Have Lost Count by Carole Martin

I have lost count of places where I stayed,
Like paparazzi flashes in the dark.
Others had homes; a fire in the hearth,
A radio, gender roles, a family arc.

We failed. One parent gone, and then the other,
Lost, zigzagged round England in the rain -
A skidding water beetle dragging another,
Moonlighting, fearful, on the move again.

Goodbye to yet another school, the library,
The stove casting flowers on the bedroom ceiling,
The boarding school; an ugly bedsit; that hop field.
Home will not stay where it is put; dizzy, freewheeling.

I have lost count. But now with freedom
Comes my own home. Here’s me with central heating -
Oh yes! A proper job; planning the garden
For another Spring. A steady way of being.
A cat curled at my side, grown old in my safe keeping.