Cath Nichols

Treading Water

(Listen to the poem, read by the author)

My body holds sufficient heat to sleep now,
in socks, pyjamas, mittens, snood and extra
sweaters. Motor finally running, I cruise
the depths then over-heat, toe the duvet
for cool patches, throw back the hood,
check engine and chassis:
my thermostat and radiator
buggered, of course.

Struggle up through whiplash, go for a wee.
Did I brake suddenly, wrench the wheel?
The cool spare room sirens me in–
rocks? oyster sheets…
Beneath the sea,
pedals keep evading me.

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About the Author

Cath Nichols‘s second collection, This is Not a Stunt (Valley Press, 2017), described by Stride as ‘groundbreaking’, focuses on non-conforming bodies, including transgender and intersex life-stories. Her work has been described as resilient and cinematic, which is ironic as she is mainly weak and static. She lives with chronic illness and sometimes (reluctantly as it costs so much energy) teaches at the University of Leeds, UK.