the augury

you were new
as buttercups
in April,

silent as a spill
of church-light
on the grass

though I felt it
in my own throat –
your breath

and that sweet,
augural hitch
as I passed

© Sarah Whiteley

April windstorm

the winds that rushed in yesterday
to strip branches of their blooms
flipped trash can lids, sent them
spinning down the street,

cast crows into chaotic aeronautics
and sent all songbirds deep
into their shrubbed shelters

but today, they come out singing
blithely tumbling between trees,
the sidewalks surprised by pink –
awash in piles of petals

© Sarah Whiteley

escape

on days when I cannot be here –
in the sense that my vigor
for living rebels –

I can instead be tucked
among the clutches of brush
on the high plateau

can instead snaps bits
of silvery desert sage,
crush it, inhaling –

we are both of us escaped
and wilder here

© Sarah Whiteley

after Livingston

that August in Livingston,
we meant just me
and the small dog tracing
the bends in the river
into the far edge of afternoon

one of us thinking of rolling
ourselves into the landscape
for keeps just for the peace,
the other enthralled
by sudden bursts of magpies

all these years after,
I never did find the right shade
to fade into and can’t shake
the sense of going the wrong
way against the river now

as if home had quietly
washed itself downstream
and settled on a sandbar –
lopsided and forsaken

© Sarah Whiteley

flower etiquette

our forsythia doesn’t bloom, never having been properly pruned the workmen (dirty-jeaned, bantering) being more adept at paint and plumbing than the etiquette of flowers © Sarah Whiteley