the heat’s gone out

for the sixth time since November,
the heat’s gone out – the radiator sits silent

there is no weight of heavy snows here
to bear down upon roofs or wool-shod shoulders,

yet the dark leans in against the windows,
its own weight overwhelming the small hours

for once, Time in its grand arc is on our side –
as are the dogs exuding contentment,

as is the glass of whiskey on the pale marble
table by the deep-seated chair

either the radiator will rattle tomorrow,
or it will remain cool in dormancy –

but in the morning, I will seek the green tips
of emerging hyacinth – gift and promise both

© Sarah Whiteley


Blue Chair

that absence hangs around,
a lone note held –
b-flat drifting long after
the tables have emptied

a blind man would have known
to find a way away from you
but fire makes us stupid

and before this space was vacant
it. was. on. fire.

things are so much clearer
when seen in d minor
it’s a particular diminished
shade of the blues

but the show’s over even if
the smoke still lingers
and there’s no flyer even
to remember it by

but darlin’, there’s no
forgetting that heat

Li’l Darlin’

I’d cross any street
for the hint of your lips
for the twirl of you
’round my skin
you know you leave me
thin as restraint can be
without breakin’ like waves
if you’d just let me
lay it out long and easy-like
drawin’ down these lines of you
lay ’em down for lengths like mine
let hesitation drown
unhurried in the sweet slow thrum
of fingering beats
Basie and Li’l Darlin’
could smooth out
the edges of anyone’s night
Sugar hums it with me
makin’ everything as sweet
as that first pinch
of need deep as breathin’
I’d cross any street
for any taste of you

© Sarah Whiteley

:::strongly influenced by Count Basie’s Li’l Darlin’:::

letters to _____ – iv

I am unallayed
in a hundred little ways
like pins they prick
chasing paths after pulses
in our white-capped bay
these peaks of sheets
and tides of turning limbs
need breathes silent
silver where the gleam of me
flickers at your throat
pressing petals
into fiercest buds of want
I would drift in kisses
and seething shine
orbital to your touch
here you are illimitable
here, my fire, you are mine

© Sarah Whiteley


better then
that the tilt
of your hands
and the bent
of your breath
moved not
within the reach
the expanse
of my want

it is more fitting
that the flit
of your fingers
and the scrape
of your lips
marked not
the fervid fit
the ellipse
of our hips

far better
that the heat
of what if
and the fury
of unknowing
set fire to
the span of space
the fragile air
between us

© Sarah Whiteley