Sometimes I hold world in one hand, my life
in the other and I get cricks in my neck
as the balance keeps swinging. I walk uneasily.

Sometimes I am bent over with the sheer weight of world,
eyes downcast, picking up useful things from the ground.

Sometimes one shoulder is pulling toward an ear
as if it’s trying to block the ear from hearing but can’t reach.

Sometimes my body is a crash mat for world. I want to say
‘I’m sorry I’m sorry!’ but don’t say it aloud.
I am privileged so I should be able to do something.

Sometimes I lie on my side and grasp world like a cushion.
I’m soft and young, and don’t feel I can change anything.
I nudge world with affection, whispering: I know, I know.

Sometimes I build a cubby from blankets thrown across furniture.
There is only inside, no outside. When I was a child,
world was a small dome and change came summer by summer.

Sometimes I make a simple frame with my arms to look at world.
I’m not involved directly. It carries on without me.
This way I can still love the sky, its patterns of clouds and contrails.

Sometimes I’m chasing world through the woods, bursting
with hope and adrenalin. Oh God, am I running!
I want to keep moving. My mouth is full of fire.

Some days are like bread and milk. I just get on with pouring
and buttering. I want the little things to be what matters most again.

Sometimes I hold little: I’m limp and ill.
Days barely exist. It’s enough to make soup.

Cath Drake was shortlisted for the Manchester Poetry Prize, came second in the 2017 Resurgence Prize with the Poetry School (now the Ginkgo Prize), and won a Mslexia/Seren poetry pamphlet prize for Sleeping with Rivers, which was a Poetry Book Society choice. Her collection The Shaking City came out in April 2020 with Seren Books.