I sleep in unfamiliar beds,
Cousins hold the place
that once held my sister and brother.
Aunts and uncles
provide a movable home
until Mommy and I can get
Somewhere to call our own.
Mom leaves me,
I don’t know for how long.

I stay a whole year at Grandma and Grandpa’s,
My first year of school.
I feel motherless and fatherless.
I have a teenage aunt, Muriel.
Uncle Norris gives me kisses
that taste of whiskey.
I sleep in the sun room,
go to church every Sunday.
I find my own way alone a lot,
I am not sure where I belong.

Shirley Tofte
May 2018