assembling the fire

remember afternoon sun cures morning’s
damper specimens

for a bigger blaze, find an ally
to help gather

wet pieces can also be cured
by sharing laughter

but only if you share laughter
long enough

some pieces show more promise
than others

but do not discard dry grasses
as useless

recall that these encourage
a better burn

as with anything in life,
start small

and be wary of smothering,
when adding more

be mindful where you place
the most weight

and if you find that your fire
is faltering,

return to the simple honesty
of grasses

when all finally burns bright
beneath the dark,

sit beside the most kindred mind
you can find,

share the amiable heat of your labor,
and pause

to remark upon the enormousness
of the sky

© Sarah Whiteley

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storm at Rachel Lake

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every branch
was made big with wind

while we
sat diminished

hunkered down
with steaming cups,

muddied boots,
cold-red cheeks,

together beneath
that orange tarp

cracking
with every gust

we stayed,
shivered, laughing

while others
fled the storm –

a splendid day,
my splendid friend

© Sarah Whiteley

for Shi Shi

fire-1347855_640

out here the rain and your book
are my only companions,

and the only thing that matters
is the campfire

and keeping the sparks (bright,
living) from too-close legs

where fabricated light cannot reach
solitude is no longer secondary,

but breathes with my breath,
and pauses in the dark –

intending everything,
but only later
— much later

© Sarah Whiteley