morning realization


it has been a gift
to lean into you

to split the light
between us,

and place tentative
names to movement

but morning rises
and corrects us

some emptiness-es
are just that –

not sky after all,
not expectation –

realization blooms
from the wrists,

take it with you –
it is my gift

© Sarah Whiteley

say amen

who gives a damn, anyway?

say amen

and then try to forget
the shape of the hands
you carved your heart to fit

there were just too many
small holes to forgive

the hymn left to sour
the edge of your tongue
was never hallelujah

although we tried
so hard to make it so

but who gives a damn, anyway?

say amen

and then let it go and dance
through the vacancy of places
that should never be absent

quiet the lightning –
there’s no stump left to strike

say amen
not hallelujah
say amen, the end

© Sarah Whiteley

the impossibility of regret

follow the narrow rain-coursings,
the leavetaking tracks of drops
that have fallen and rushing
run off, down, run away
from or toward bearings
unknown and unasked –
try to draw them back,
the wanderers, as if
they never escaping had not
dispersed with the best
of our bold intentions
that, you say,
is the impossibility of regret –
you cannot gather it back
to refill what has been spilled
but maybe this is why
the heart is migratory
and built for goodbye

© Sarah Whiteley


I could not come to you unbroken –
just as day breaks herself brightly
upon the crests of dark rises
and every day the earth turns
to give her credence
and then turns again away
while she spills into oblivion –
but like her I gather
in soundless profundity
the offered hours in piles
against the rise of tides,
the turning earth,
to gird this fragile machinery
to which we are bound –
I could not come to you unbroken
yet I surrender the pieces
which suit best the beat of you
and wait once more for morning

© Sarah Whiteley


delight is fleeting
and softness
too soon hardens
clay beneath
the heat of loss
the road runs constant
on and over between
fancy’s fading fields
keening streams
carry sinners’ dreams
to seas restless
as dormant dreamers
adrift in empty beds
of their own making
night is fleeting
and sorrow ever-waking
sleeping feet
travel dreaming trails
and never find
the bread crumbs
leading home

© Sarah Whiteley