the departed

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your departure has the weight of ash

no longer carrying your fate,
I return to my old shape

days hold their same complexities
but night has become startlingly simple –

rucked sheets, wooden bed-frame –
there’s no need to believe in anything else

how is it that you ever fit
inside these walls? inside this time?

I was never a promise –
my hands, my breasts, my breathing –

are sovereign and whole

© Sarah Whiteley

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a not quite reprise

were I to rest
my breath again
within the ease
of your elbows,
and allow myself
to shine as does
the moon by
the stolen light
of your sun,
I would choose again
to rise tomorrow
and give your
substance back
for though I do not
shine so brightly,
I no longer
feel the lack

© Sarah Whiteley

you me and we

you, who are not my sky,
nor the roots
beneath my heels,
no longer laud
the lay of my land
nor grasp the quiet span
where knowing fingers
no longer roving go
we are we, ever we two,
never a sum of one
(which only bees achieve),
but as moon is fixed to earth
and earth is fixed to sun
your time is fixed to mine
though the passing sweep
of our feet never more mingle
nor never more meet

© Sarah Whiteley