a birthday poem

in the blue light
of an icy February dawn,
everything is crisp
everything has edges
that crumble and crunch

and the wide mouth
of the wind shows its teeth
as it comes surging
around the corner
of my 43rd year

once every year
we meet in some manner,
this time it is with
cold-bitten fingers,
head down against the wind

though here and there
a few power lines
may be leaning low,
you may be certain
we will meet this way again

© Sarah Whiteley

Snow on Sunday night and two inches of ice on the roads in my neighborhood. Tomorrow I turn 43 and I can’t remember the last time I had snow on my birthday. It’s not such a common thing in Seattle, and so usually I have to go in search of it up into the mountains and foothills if I want some of the white stuff. This year, I can just step outside my door.

My newest chapbook Wandering Wonderful is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press.

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cigarette before dawn

before dawn, I curl myself
into a single cigarette
and forget for a moment
that I am anything other than
lips, than smoke, than
the act of exhaling

when I write such things,
I am shifting the silences
into a semblance of meaning,
wrapping words around the hours
too late to be called night,
too early yet to be morning

and I am grateful for
the hard end of the bench
I press my back against
while I wait for something –
anything – to progress
beyond the gray plumes
that loop the air before me

© Sarah Whiteley

*

listening to the day’s
wakening heartbeat,
the unseen thrush
trilling in the still-dark
before the January dawn,
I can almost sense you
turn in your sleep –
and this is my survival:
even in the act of leaving
I am always coming home

© Sarah Whiteley

In one more short month, I’ll be heading (again) into lengthy workdays and ungodly hours. Somehow the thought of it is even more difficult this time around knowing there’s a warm and wonderful soul waiting for me at home. And yet… there’s a warm and wonderful soul waiting for me at home! How lucky am I?

spring walk, 6 a.m.

this is the moment
when I am unearthed,
when I am at last unbound
by mundane constraints –

now, when the birds
at their riotous best,
launch their relief that yes,
day again brings light

in a canon shared by wrens
and robins and flitting juncos
from trees whose slow buds
are indecently near to bursting

now, when the still low sun
lifts slowly above the hill,
when light is burnished pink
and leaf-filtered

here I am both more and less
myself than at any other moment
and piercingly in love
with every greening tree

© Sarah Whiteley

morning love

just as morning
slips creepingly into day,
skimmingly we slide,
in pools unfurling,
and in slow glidings,
light the divide
in saffron pinks;
rising we arouse
to the fetching drifts
and softened fells
of tender-skinned crooks
shooing shadows
in pell-mell races
from places
only our fingers
goingly know
until I am arrayed
only in the hymn
of gold-dawning him

© Sarah Whiteley