Poem of the Week | How to count as a child (correctly) by Alice Kinsella

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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Cover photo by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash