found poem

yesterday’s fortune
left the fragment of a poem
lying in the January drizzle
for me to perceive
and carry (treasured) home

some squirrel, winter hungry
no doubt, had dug it up
and nibbled most of the roots
away to nubs – but still,
green pushes through
the almost ruin

it sits now on my sill
in a balance of stone and water
and quiet winter light, while I
and my curiosity await
the unknown bloom

© Sarah Whiteley

While walking in the rain yesterday, I did stumble across a little bulb on the sidewalk with most of its roots nibbled off, but some healthy green just beginning to show. I decided to take it home with me and see if I could get it to bloom. It struck me almost immediately how much finding this little bit of life was like writing a poem – stumbling over a fragment that slowly sprouts, never knowing exactly what it will be when it finally decides to bloom. I’m actually very excited now to see what blooms on my window sill in a few weeks – love this little gift from the universe!

flower thieves

thirty-nine days of rain that spring
at night we’d poach the roses
pricking our fingers for pale posies
we’d stop to pet the strays
and duck down the alleyways
past the bamboo shadows
and the fountain we could hear
whose waters we never did see
we’d pause and pluck a petal
from the magnolia down the block
and pass it as we walked between us
savoring the scent of something dark
a sweetness undefined
the wisteria dripped blue against the stones
and we’d stop for a moment and breathe
in the sweet damp of green night
together beneath the streetlights
crickets trilling in the thick patches of ivy
trailing tendrils over sidewalks and up walls
we’d plunder the gardens and pillage the trees
thirty-nine days of rain
and all those nights plucking at roses
in spite of the pain
laughing softly and sucking at sore fingers
nine springs later I pull a pink bud
from the rose in the alley
prick my fingers and smile
like it was the last time
we crept like two thieves
through the gardens at night
together beneath the streetlights
between the alleys and the rain

© Sarah Whiteley

I’m happy to say that I’m back. Back in Seattle, back to myself, and back to writing and reading. Walking the neighborhood for the past couple of days has been like one long sigh of relief and all the worries, tension, troubles of the past year are slowly lifting. Such great inner space is created when we can let go and move forward. Just in my case, moving forward meant moving back to the city I love. I can’t wait to catch up on what I’ve been missing – both here and in my city. And what better way to mark my return than with a poem about my neighborhood.