How to count as a child (correctly)
By Alice Kinsella
Count patterns on the wallpaper
at night, ignore the stars outside
in their billions, as many as grains
of microplastic on every beach.
Count the telephone poles whizzing
by in the car. Count in pairs to
unclench the muscles in your feet,
two thumbs, bum cheeks, eyelids.
Count the laps you run in P.E. Run
until you count an even number, so
no one in your family dies today.
Don’t count birthdays, which increase
the fraction of your life already lived.
Don’t count the times you tell mammy
I love you.
These times, unlike love, are finite.
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