placid with the mountains

I cannot be the abstract
the city asks of me

I cannot maintain the grind
of teeth, of grime –

the hot seconds stuffed
into dull hours

when I do not go out,
the ghost of going out

rises within and whispers
of how the November woods

still smell of autumn –
of how the sleeping lake waits,

placid with the mountains
etched upon her face

© Sarah Whiteley

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the weight of wings

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I’d forgotten about the starlings –
had drowned their raucous cacophonies
in the deepening days of August

until just now, the noisome rush
plummeted into the honey locust,
whose yellow is now heavily inked
by the sudden weight of wings

© Sarah Whiteley

November chickadees

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November chill
rusts the dogwood,
scatters the locust seeds
down the sodden street

the maple this year
shows an unusual
reluctance for red

but today gray was made
a near beautiful thing –
a frame for the darker
darts of the chickadees

in the yellow goodbye
of the chestnut tree

© Sarah Whiteley

autumn’s end

the bees have succumbed to drowsiness
and the honeysuckle’s dropped,
replaced by the final asters
bowing low in blue reverence of sky

the river birches arch their yellow-graced
necks over the pond where drifts
of silver fish begin their quiet
descent to barely being

maples wait in flashing ranks,
upturned and expectant of lowering skies –
their red fingers signalling retreat
into stasis, when cooling saps no longer rise

and for now, we too forget our own restlessness –
stretching long in the last of the golden light –
hearts faint-pricked by the leaves’ moments
of letting go, watching the sun pull the light away

© Sarah Whiteley

Spending time with family in Wisconsin (and reminding myself once more why I live in a milder climate). Will catch up on reading when I return. Peace!

in memoriam – for J.

into swelling tides of feathered grasses
the swallows dive like last light
behind the foothills, purple and gray
with the bruises of another vanishing day

too many Octobers have becomingly blazed
since you and I sat on that step
with damp hair and cigarettes,
content in the sun-filtered silence

and if some days I choose to cradle my pain
close to my chest, it is only to
keep the dust from that October day
and our last shared morning

for all too soon the trees will bend
to November’s wind, piling their griefs
onto last season’s leaves, like failed birds
that lie in memoriam of warmer earths

© Sarah Whiteley

In other news, the deadline craziness is finally DONE and I can return to feeling human once more. Such a relief to shed a that particular stress and enjoy time that is once again my own!