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. ❤

on a day when light is tired

on a day when light is tired,
and creeps just barely
across the floor to nudge
a perhaps foot in recognition
of shared apathy

do not mistake sadness
for a sort of ingratitude –
I am thankful for the hooks
that wrench up the grief
from beneath the calm

it is a change at least
in latitude, a revision
of a current insufferable state
and an airing out of that
which has stagnated within

let light be tired then,
and just barely there –
let us be dim together
and somnolent at least until
some fresher air may rouse us

© Sarah Whiteley

mileposts

6:57 AM and light’s early overture
has warmed the cherry petals just enough
that the faintest scent of sweet emerges

maybe it’s more than just scribbling poets
who note these moments and mark the time,
mentally ticking off the mileposts to restoration

but this morning’s note is more than that –
today’s surfacing defines a full ten years,
and the cherry trees have bloomed to remind me

when my bus crosses John Street, I lose it –
cry quietly against the window at sunlight
pushing obdurately through the newest leaves

but by tiny degrees, I still find comfort
in the indomitable certainty that gently-scented,
spring will always return where you cannot

© Sarah Whiteley

A little sad today – marking the 10-year anniversary of losing my little brother. Don’t think I made a complete fool of myself on the bus – at least I hope not. I do find the cherry trees comforting. The bloom does go on.

On a side note, I do not recommend beginning spring by simultaneously breaking your toe and ripping the toenail off. Can we say ouch?! Yes,… yes we can. With a few other choice four-letter words thrown in for good measure!

in memoriam – for J.

into swelling tides of feathered grasses
the swallows dive like last light
behind the foothills, purple and gray
with the bruises of another vanishing day

too many Octobers have becomingly blazed
since you and I sat on that step
with damp hair and cigarettes,
content in the sun-filtered silence

and if some days I choose to cradle my pain
close to my chest, it is only to
keep the dust from that October day
and our last shared morning

for all too soon the trees will bend
to November’s wind, piling their griefs
onto last season’s leaves, like failed birds
that lie in memoriam of warmer earths

© Sarah Whiteley

In other news, the deadline craziness is finally DONE and I can return to feeling human once more. Such a relief to shed a that particular stress and enjoy time that is once again my own!