Comments 30

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.


This entry was posted in: Poetry


Carol J Forrester is a writer and a history geek. Her debut collection 'It's All In The Blood' came out November 2019. She has a 2:1 BA degree in history from Bath Spa University, enjoys judo at least twice a week, and tries to attend poetry events around the Midlands when she can. Her flash fiction story ‘Glorious Silence’ was named as River Ram Press’ short story of the month for August 2014 and her short story ‘A Visit From The Fortune Teller’ has been showcased on the literary site Ink Pantry. Her poems ‘Sunsets’ and ‘Clear Out‘ were featured on Eyes Plus Words, and two of her poems were included in the DVerse Poets Pub Publication ‘Chiaroscuro’ which is available for purchase on amazon.Her poem ‘Until The Light Gets In‘ was accepted and published at The Drabble and her poem ‘Newborn’ was published by Ink Sweat & Tears. She has been lucky enough to write guest posts for sites such as Inky Tavern and Song of The Forlorn and has hosted a number of guest bloggers on her site Writing and Works.


  1. Oh my. I too have had those nights that were so hot I wept. I am living off gazpacho and cold cucumber soup these days. Too hot!

    • I’m currently a lovely shade of red on my shoulders. Decided to climb Snowdon on Tuesday with the husband and got very sunburned. Amazing views though.

      • 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.

  2. You remind me of what it’s like at the beach in summer with no a/c. I’ve experienced this but not so poetically as this. Well done!

    • 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    • Thank you very much. I tend to write a lot of poetry rooted in emotions or relationships so I wanted to write one that a real physical element to it.

  5. This is such a great way of describing the swelter of summer…. thankfully it cooled off today… love the physical aspect of the ordeal.. the walls of the coffin especially.

    • Thank you. I’m afraid the heat is pretty much the only thing I can think of at the moment so writing a poem about anything else might have been tricky.

  6. 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.

    • 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.

  7. “despite the windows with their open mouths

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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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