avalanche lilies

“Beware, O wanderer, the road is walking too.”
― Jim Harrison

the trick is to rise up
with the mountain,

and not to bring it
down beneath your feet

not all who wander
will understand this

and for this reason,
I tell no one the way

and keep the starred
avalanche lilies

for my own selfish
roaming self

© Sarah Whiteley

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mending a friendship

for Charlie

routing earth for ants,
our quarry a queen,
it was as if the air
turned to petals
and buzzings of bees,
each of us sweet
and industrious
in the bright breaks
between rain

earlier, we’d paused
for the low darts
of the swallows
and the unexpectedness
of a dragonfly
the exact color
of a November sea

for now a small quest
and a glad yes
enough to bring us
shoulder to shoulder
in the tentative hope
of certainty and sorry

© Sarah Whiteley

June crows

four crows in the June grass
watch me watching them
from my bright blanket,
while the fifth plucks sprigs
of blooms from the chestnut

an all-at-once wind teases
white petals into yellow light –
a sudden floral flotilla
and the fifth crow flies with one,
two, three sprouted sprigs

and I from my bright blanket
reaching into the world –
admiring the petals,
yet never wondering
who the bouquet is for

© Sarah Whiteley

last evening in May

the last evening in May
and the dogs are still,
stretched beside the window

as still as the trees
whose wind momentarily
has no urge to prove itself

the light nearly gone,
still there is a lone
hummingbird in the plum

and two house finches
gazing outwards, sitting
squat in the window box

I smell rain tonight,
and the spice remaining
from tonight’s dinner

on the dogs’ last walk
this last evening in May,
we’ll see the Sound

and on the far side will be
mountains, which I know remain
snowy behind their clouds

© Sarah Whiteley

I go out

I go out, and come back –
to the low voices of everyday
concrete saying stay,
voices that are each time fainter

I go out, and come back –
in sun, in mist, in rain –
and each time the tether
is less, and closer to temporary

each time the river’s shout
grows louder and I am more
cedar and stone, more
singing creek and warbler

I go out, and I am more
simply by being less

© Sarah Whiteley

the hummingbird

how the hummingbird knew
I would deliver him is unclear
and somewhat miraculous

the flash at his throat
reminded me of you –
that gleam before the deeper
hours of night descend

how true that some longings
can never be emancipated

© Sarah Whiteley