Porpoise – Magpie Tales

Tooker Bathers-George-Tooker-1950

Cassie hated the changing rooms and the feeling of being sized up, assessed, compared and found wanting by the other women. With their sleek limbs, muscles rippling under their skin, and flat stomachs, oh yes, she could imagine their thoughts as their eyes travelled up and down her own mis-shapen, lumpy body in revulsion.

She wished she could wear a sign hanging from her neck, explaining to people who she was, what she had been through, how much it took out of her to come here every week, how the memories assaulted her every time she passed through the doors and the chlorine tickled the back of her throat. But that just wasn’t the done thing. And she didn’t want pity, just recognition.

“Excuse me, I’m sorry, aren’t you..?” a teenaged girl was swiping her index finger furiously over her phone, looking first at Cassie, then down again.

“Oh, I can swim, even though it looks impossible. Well, kind of, anyway,” Cassie plastered a smile on her face, practised but not yet used to the sharp stab of pain in her heart. ‘Not the pity, not the pity,’ she thought.

“No! No! It’s not that! You’re Cassie Anderlecht, aren’t you? The Olympic swimmer..?”

“I was the Olympic swimmer, once, yes,” Cassie sighed. “Not any more, as you can see.”

The girl looked Cassie full in the face, ignoring the crutches, the ill-fitting swimsuit, the twisted legs, the scars that bore witness to the story of her past.

“But you’re still Cassie Anderlechts. I’m so very pleased to meet you.”


Here’s this week’s entry into Magpie Tales. Please visit here for more creativity, and why not take part, if you feel the urge!

Hot Stuff

Sky high, sky rocket,
pierce the starred firmament
and blast away.
Tropical tendrils embrace, then pin your limbs,
press you into pillows,
suffocating, enveloping and
pulling you into the abyss
of furnace heat.
Coal fires rage inside your mind,
slick skin snake-smooth
hisses to the touch.
Fluxing and undulating,
enslaved and tormented –
reach for sanity
and the chill of the new dawn.
Let the fever break,
watch mercury falling,
feel your heart beat steady.
Be calm, be free.

Hot Stuff


I have finally succumbed to the bug that’s going round and have spent the day in bed, sleeping, aching, tossing and turning. Those who know me best will understand that I am a terrible patient, so am best left to my own devices when the mercury rises! At least, in my poet cloak, I can put the ickyness into more words than ‘ughhhh’.

You will notice that I have added a SoundCLoud rendition of this poem to today’s post, and indeed I added a reading of Enervated yesterday. Not everyone feels confident reading poetry, so I thought that it would be helpful for those of you that like to listen, rather than read.