the question

I cannot say to you
that it is deep spring –
that now when I walk
at the outset of night,
the fields are thick
with frog song

I cannot tell you
that those long talks
under the porch light
were the best moments,
and saved me many times
from myself

you are not here
to hear that these
are also the best moments,
living among the worst –

and that “yes”
would be the answer
if you’d ask again
whether I am happy

but you are not here
to ask the question,
and I am petal-deep
in memories

© Sarah Whiteley

On Easter Sunday, I lost a very dear friend to cancer. We lost him quickly, and because of our current situation, I was unable to hug him one more time in farewell. He was truly the kindest, most generous person I’d ever met. He was thoughtful, and compassionate, and gently pushed others towards compassion. I never got the chance to tell him how his presence in my life changed me for the better – saved me even. For years, he would ask me the question “are you happy?” and for years my answers fell somewhere between “well, you know” and “I’m okay” followed by a shrug. This man who genuinely cared whether or not I was happy never had the chance to hear that I was. I am finally in a space where I have room to breathe, where I am safe, where daily I can walk among trees, where I can feel some peace. And a lot of that is due to this one person who cared enough to help me ask myself what it is exactly that would make me happy. So thank you, dear Leo. I am happy. ❤

the accordion

whether the accordion stays or goes
becomes a matter of friendship –
and of the necessity or needlessness
of tokens of attachment

a heavy load can make for a longer road,
and other favors await a verdict –
whether box or bin, either out or in,
feeling and hand both hesitate

though the heart of the gift remains whole
in spite of this inquest –
true affection demands no keepsakes,
and gathers no dust on its bellows

© Sarah Whiteley

I am in the midst of downsizing for the big move next month. I find the days sliding by at an alarming rate, with still so much to do. It will all get done, I am certain – after much hard work and lots of letting go of the things I truly do not need. Whether the accordion makes the move with me? I’ll be sure to let you know. 🙂

the raccoons

that silver morning at Shi Shi,
the chill we rose to a mere shade
of the deeper cold to come

we’d had visitors in the night,
our tents encircled by prints –
two sets surveying our strangeness

then breaking away to wander
to the edge of the sea,
twining in close loops together

we followed with our coffee
trailing steam from our mugs –
careful not to efface the evidence

© Sarah Whiteley

mending a friendship

for Charlie

routing earth for ants,
our quarry a queen,
it was as if the air
turned to petals
and buzzings of bees,
each of us sweet
and industrious
in the bright breaks
between rain

earlier, we’d paused
for the low darts
of the swallows
and the unexpectedness
of a dragonfly
the exact color
of a November sea

for now a small quest
and a glad yes
enough to bring us
shoulder to shoulder
in the tentative hope
of certainty and sorry

© Sarah Whiteley

[nothing with you has been enough]

nothing with you has been enough

at 2 AM, to an audience of bricks,
I can be honest with my heart

and if I sit here long enough,
a prayer might stumble in –

something akin to what
moths find in porch-light –

I have been to-ing and fro-ing
with the consequences

but in the end, it comes to this:
we might love each other,
if only I’d forget to run

© Sarah Whiteley