Blue Chair

that absence hangs around,
a lone note held –
b-flat drifting long after
the tables have emptied

a blind man would have known
to find a way away from you
but fire makes us stupid

and before this space was vacant
it. was. on. fire.

things are so much clearer
when seen in d minor
it’s a particular diminished
shade of the blues

but the show’s over even if
the smoke still lingers
and there’s no flyer even
to remember it by

but darlin’, there’s no
forgetting that heat

every line is a love story

every line I write is a love story
whether I write to say my skin
remembers the imprint of your hand
as if it were there now still

or I thought for the smallest of moments
I heard your voice only to discover
it was the thrush calling out its love
for sky from the pole outside my window

even when I write simply
I stopped to buy the milk this morning
it is what is said underneath
that makes this still of love
the things that are unpenned
how as I turned the corner of the building
a man whose shoulders echoed the slope of yours
startled a joyful greeting from me
until he turned and in the early sun
I saw that he was never you
or how as I stood in the coolness
in the false light of the dairy section
I stared at the cartons of milk
and recalled how it was to have someone
to buy milk with – how it was to argue
over skim (too watery) versus whole
(the only milk worth having)
to finally compromise on two percent
(which I detest nearly as much as skim)
or how when fumbling for my card
at the register the checker
with the surprisingly kind eyes saying
‘and how are you this morning?’
I think we all know how ‘fine’
is one of the easiest lies lips can form
yes, every line a love story
I’ve placed my heart in each
whether I write my love, I love
the fit of you to me
, or perhaps just
today I opened the mailbox
and found it was empty

© Sarah Whiteley


I have been gone
too long from here
from lulling grasses
rustling keen kisses
at the magnolia’s feet,
white petals bruised
to scent, sharp
and sudden as the flap
of a finch flushed
from beneath the boxwood

the watchful eye
of a sentinel moon
rises low and hangs heavy
between black branches
our absence has grown wide
and horizons have grown hazy
where will I find you again,
if not in crushed petals,
or clinging, freshly unearthed
to thready roots of rue

I bloom nonetheless
though something hesitant
shifts within and grows restless
tired all at once of waiting
for what is yet unreturned

© Sarah Whiteley