different minds

a neighbor stands in his yard
and bemoans roads – says
he prefers wilderness
and dogs, and rails now
against the HOA and their
six brains thinking as one

but after a few too many,
wields his weed whacker –
one-handed against any blade
rising higher than some
arbitrary regulation height

we watch from my dandelions –
the dogs, the yellow cedar, and I –
different minds entirely

© Sarah Whiteley

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. ❤

the raccoons

that silver morning at Shi Shi,
the chill we rose to a mere shade
of the deeper cold to come

we’d had visitors in the night,
our tents encircled by prints –
two sets surveying our strangeness

then breaking away to wander
to the edge of the sea,
twining in close loops together

we followed with our coffee
trailing steam from our mugs –
careful not to efface the evidence

© Sarah Whiteley

just hum

November blows in
bearing a hundred
different songs
about her wind,

leaving one ditty
to rattle and drum
upon the limbs
of the locust

you know this one,
I tell myself,
if you’ve forgotten
the words, just hum

© Sarah Whiteley

November is upon us, and I’m not quite sure what happened to September and October. But then I suppose a crazy schedule will do that to a person and before you know it, days and whole weeks slip away without a leaving any impression at all other than a chaotic blur.

Things have calmed down a bit for me finally and I am determined to get back to the habit (and pleasure) of writing. For the month of November, I am tasking myself with drafting at least one poem a day. Many of these won’t be posted – they’ll be put aside to be tweaked later with the intention of compiling them into a new manuscript. But it feels good to set my mind to a creative task. One that will leave an impression and will keep the days from slipping by without remark.

And one of these days, I’ll post an update about the crows. They’re gathering their numbers for the winter roost, so I will at least try first to capture a quick video of them tagging along for an autumn walk with the dogs (which always turns heads in the neighborhood).

Happy November to all!

I have not named what it is I am grieving…

I have not named
what it is I am grieving –
letting go becomes
unfeasible in such a state

perhaps it is simply
for a space which carries
both the gravity
and lightness of leaving

a place where inhaling
and exhaling
become something other
than separate acts –

disparate sides
of the same smooth stone,
palmed for the easy comfort
of its rounded weight

© Sarah Whiteley