This is not my home.


I’m a hermit crab

carrying my shelter

wherever I scuttle.


not an edifice

not a walled enclosure,

no roof protects me.


This is not my home.


An electric pulse propels me,

I’m a crazed windup toy,

a dizzy top,

watching the world

through my distorted prism.


I’m the leader of

the lost




This is not my home.


I flee my assailants,

I steal,

I lie whenever possible,

truth being a

made up invention

not to be trusted.


I speak in languages

no one has ever heard.

I forget most things.

I never look for what

I’ve lost.


This is not my home.


I adhere to no dogma,

write my own commandments,

then disobey them all.


This is not my home.


I join radical groups,

defend the oppressed,

invest in projects I know

will fail.


I wear many masks.

Every day is Mardi Gras.


I instigate rebellions,

make all my objections



This is not my home.


I relinquish citizenship,

possess a passport to a country

that doesn’t exist.


I’m the Queen of Siam.

I’m Jezebel.

You’ll find me

In the Bible and

The Book of the Dead.


I defy all traditions,

Spit on my grave.


This is not my home.


Home is a bench

in a Greyhound depot,

a railway car,

a jail cell,

a bed in a psychiatric hospital.


Ragged, hungry,

there are holes in my socks,

my soles are worn,

my soul is worn.


I wear a cloak of invisibility,

It never keeps me warm.


This is not my home.


No boundaries contain me,

I go where I’m not wanted,

wipe my feet on the

the unwelcome mat.


I insist the earth is flat.

I walk to its edge

and fall off.


This is not my home.


I ask myself

Why am I here?

I meditate

on the lack of

an answer.


This is not my home.


I’m a spy

reporting on

an apathetic god.


And if you look

you’ll find

my obituary

written in graffiti

on the decaying walls

of every city.



Rose Oliver is a retired psychiatric nurse who now has time to devote to indulging her voracious reading appetite. She is a reader turned writer, following Saul Bellows’ intuition that “Writers are readers moved to emulation.” Her works have appeared in online and print journals. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.