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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this is how

this is how things end then –
with dancing, and a ruined heart

unexpected and yet somehow not,
since this is you afterall

this is an emptiness that cannot
redeem itself with waiting

but I’ve grown used to thorns,
have almost forgotten the fireflies,

have known always that the flames
could be turned to strike me

and this is the way it goes-
trusting an incautious other with fire

and praying for something other than ash

© Sarah Whiteley

2.20.2015

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

1.22.2015

and the pain was a hook she had swallowed – a bright, relentless sun which burned beneath her heart without the relief that ash would bring –

and the heat rising up from her throat carried with it the most fervent prayer for darkness that the sky had yet heard – so frightening that the moon hid herself within her shadow

oh take, take was the plea, but the pain could only give, as was its nature

I know when it is I am burning

I know when it is
I am burning –

when the sparrow
in my throat
bursts free from
the fretful gravity
of kisses nearly pressed
but not

and when gazes
glance away
from what has not
yet been but is almost
said and left to hang
between

I know when it is
I am burning –

when on the verge
of crumbling into dust
I find myself at precipices
and am far too fragile
to bear your touch
without incineration

but if at night
I may find my boldness –
and peace in being
still beside you –
then I pray time
will consume the day
and love bend
light away

© Sarah Whiteley