[the poet hikes with unbound hair and finds her peace at last]

I’m certain this will eventually bloom into an actual poem, but for now I’m just letting the line sit with me for a bit. And savoring the joy of Saturday’s hike over creek and stone, through snow-dusted woods.

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things I cannot tell you

I cannot tell you, for example,
that I am resting against the ache
of not seeing you rise in the morning
to sip your coffee at the window

or that the prospect of you
is the hidden sun in my throat
that glows, that pulls roots, and yes,
I would joyfully plant myself beside you

and also, I cannot tell you
that you are my favorite kind of ‘yes,’
my affirmation that the mountain
will not fall from beneath me

and that the whole of my skin
sleeps until you are near enough
to wake it – that all of me resides
inside almost, maybe, not quite

© Sarah Whiteley

payment

my knowledge of you
is not free

I pay for it, as one does
with any passage –

in silences,
in glances held

in the avid awareness of you alone
amongst the crowd,

and in relinquishing
the oft-sharp joy light must feel

in falling upon
that most hallowed of curves –

that pale, beloved arch –
the back of your sweet neck

yet, I am paid back a hundredfold
with the charm of knowing

© Sarah Whiteley

like the lake

like the lake, I am much less talkative
than say the creek cantering east,
teasing the low-hanging ferns to trembling

we lakes embrace rather than chase,
swallow whole those stones that settle
to long years of mute stillness

we are content with the stir and shift of winds,
with the lined glide of a pair of loons,
returning to the calm lull of a cat-tailed inlet

© Sarah Whiteley

for Shi Shi

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out here the rain and your book
are my only companions,

and the only thing that matters
is the campfire

and keeping the sparks (bright,
living) from too-close legs

where fabricated light cannot reach
solitude is no longer secondary,

but breathes with my breath,
and pauses in the dark –

intending everything,
but only later
— much later

© Sarah Whiteley