Sun Sick

Tonight I am chasing the cool side of the pillow,

almost as elusive as breeze

despite the windows with their open mouths

panting in the heat.

Here, the backs of my knees slide slicked

between day fresh sheets

too quickly twisted into abandoned heaps,

lumps of coal still smoldering at the foot of this bed

all while the ceiling fan wheels in slow circles

the air curdling into soups so thick

it sticks in my lungs

like grief I want to scream into the cool side of a pillow

until my breath has turned cotton to swamp,

until I cannot tell the tears from my sweat

 

and the summer feels a little less like a coffin

pressing in on all sides.

dverselogo

30 Comments

      1. I’ll bet! I have a tendancy to use large hats, parasols, and sun screen. I had sun poisoning several times as a child and am super sensitive to the direct sun. LOL, my mother used to call me her baby vampire.

    1. Thank you very much. We have a fan in the bedroom here but I hate the noise so I can’t sleep with it on. It’s a choice between that keeping me awake or the heat it seems.

  1. I love those “windows with their open mouths / panting in the heat” and the breath that turns cotton to swamp. I can totally sense the coffin-like stricture of a summer night.

  2. Oh, I can feel the heat and even more so its physicality from the real experience of it.
    This has to be my favorite bit: “like grief I want to scream into the cool side of a pillow/until my breath has turned cotton to swamp”.
    An inspired write.
    -HA

  3. We’re headed to Utah next week and I’m starting to wonder why. Didn’t think about the 100 degree temps in July when I planned the trip. I suspect this poem may come back to me.

    1. The husband and I climbed Snowdon on Tuesday. Utterly crisped on my right shoulder. Still hurting now. I at least have the excuse of being English and you know what they say about Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

  4. “despite the windows with their open mouths

    panting in the heat.” I love those lines – they create such a vivid picture!

  5. I have chased the cool side of the pillow many times. You have so many great phrases in this poem.
    I hope life brings a refreshing breeze your way soon.

  6. Oh, Carol, I know that so well, ‘chasing the cool side of the pillow’ and the ‘windows with their open mouths / panting in the heat’.
    Your poem evokes all the sleepless nights I’ve ever had. I’m so glad it’s a cooler Saturday morning!

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