out of time

we were, for a time,
each other’s clocks –
the tick-ticking of
our fingers apart,
counting the breaths
before between until –

2 AM yearning strikes,
hungry as bells on Sunday –
and we unwind, reset,
sweep the seconds
from our faces,
cheeks to shoulders
for a minute

how I swallowed
every moment,
even the ones




and sired a void
within the void

© 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

letters to _____ – vi

you should hear then
how I would want
these last words
to be let loose
like jewel-green beetles
to race the hastening day
to scatter scuttling
this final evidence
to your distant ears
love, I rise asunder
each day that wakes
upon your absence
though I am ever
there beside you
for I cannot pull
your breath from mine
nor my love
from the hands
that rightly hold it

© Sarah Whiteley


this space
which you have never inhabited
holds you all the same
contains all the silent disquiet
of your absence
and the un-echoing never
of where you do not stand
the unwary word remains
and carries your voice just as if
just as if
I dwell within that shade of you
here where elsewhere is these walls,
these windows, this white room
elsewhere, where you
abidingly reside

© Sarah Whiteley


un-sing the days
take away
take away brushes
of fingertips
drawn together
by their own
private gravity
uncircle, unwind,
untwine the limbs
in longing fused
that heat’s
long used
and grown cold
without the friction
of a once fond other
disparate nights
and mismatched
patches of days
pry the minutes
of our moments
slowly apart
un-sing the ways
take back,
take back the lips
that ground me
and the hands
that confound me
those skies
have died
in a rush of gray
a blaze of dismay
here is the crater
where love resides

© Sarah Whiteley

distant limbs
of absentee lovers
embrace the spaces
minutes expand
discarded sighs meet
and pass in vacant vaults
moth-white whispers
of dreams so deep asleep
they drift in shallows
among clefts of night
where fingers linger
and spread the hours
of unwaking waiting
longings scatter skies
and lights that have died
burn cool to the touch
of remembered skin
flesh-held impressions
where rapt hands
once kissed navelled bliss
the bygone glow
of tangling torsos
casts echoes of heat
wider than desire
farther than fingers
can reach

© Sarah Whiteley