sunset on Puget Sound

the sun unraveled,
spooled itself into the Sound
as if it needed something
to fall into at the last

I imagine startled fish –
their silver suddenly gold,
a splash of unexpected flash

© Sarah Whiteley

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to C.P., with much fondness

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we sat, as I imagine
you might have envied,
ten feet above the shoreline

bracing ourselves against
ridgeline winds with
whiskey warmed in cider

and watching the trout rise
in sudden ripples to
pick off the new hatch

and now returning to learn
that you’ve gone – startling
as a hook in the mouth

© Sarah Whiteley

at Sleepy Eye

days stretched out so long, they toppled
off the end of the weathered dock
into the spring-fed cold at Sleepy Eye

among the shadows between the pilings
swam the uncatchable ghost of a walleye
(suitably fish-tale-sized)
someone years past had called Walter

every summer we saw him jump,
breaking the lake at dusk, just offshore
where the small-flies gathered
in their short-lived, tiny-winged hordes

at the splash “it’s Walter!”
we’d gasp and sit properly awed
while we envisioned the sort of net
that might finally nab him

the “growed-up” me is somewhat relieved
Walter’s remained a fish-ish myth,
dodging all the efforts and lures
of the great northern fisherman

this way, he’s stayed a childhood tale –
of firefly nights among hundred-year pines
and the hollow sound of wooden oars
striking the sides of a kid-captained boat

© 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!