they’ve set traps for the rats…

they’ve set traps for the rats –
one would think who cares?
except that I’ve seen the mother
coax her young in clambering
up the long patience of her tail
to reach the seed in the feeder
long after the evening’s last birds
have flown to their repose

down the street, they’ve shot the coyote,
and are calling it mercy
one might say so what?
except that she tracked the rats
and carried them back with her
into the deep green bulwark
at the densest edge of the park
where her soft-nosed pups wait

they’ve placed a sign around the corner
and one might think it benign –
until the hard hats descend
with their chainsaws and chippers,
to fell and to sunder the cedar
whose rings will mark an age
that far surpasses this city
and glibly name it progress

© Sarah Whiteley

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buttercup

knowing you already have
the company of stones,
and wanting a remembrance
less weighty,
I brought to you
the single beam
of a wild buttercup
plucked from among
its golden brothers,
drifting even now
unfettered in the field

where nearby children
may be heard shrieking
in play with each other
and with the barking dog
under the watchful eyes
of a woman content
that they will be tired
after this brilliant-skied
afternoon frolic

and even nearer,
the cedar the artists
come to paint holds
the newest fledglings close
until early one morning
and quite unexpectedly,
it will dawn on them
that they are the sky-born
and their falling
will become instead
their glorious flying

and down the street,
the runners run
past the park where
I imagine you stopped
to watch the swallows
plummet at dusk,
enthralled by just what
hollow bones can do –
and wandered back home
to with relish write
of growing wings

© Sarah Whiteley

the wren (and book update!)

on Sunday, I envied a wren –
small, brown, prosperous
with song as he clung
with the catkins
to the willowy twigs

all the world is sideways,
I’d decided – except
quite plainly, his

© Sarah Whiteley

This morning I received an update from the publisher on the status of Wandering Wonderful book orders. They have finally been printed and orders are on their way to Finishing Line Press now where they will be prepared for mailing. From what I can gather, book orders will be shipped to individuals sometime between June 4th and 18th.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone for their patience and support!

Ophelia on the dash

I can’t see a Buick these days
without recalling crawling in
through the driver’s side window –

for nearly 8,000 miles
that rubber worshiped roads
with Ophelia on the dash,
the trucks blaring as we passed

she was more cause than cat,
and once walked the split-rail
on the edge of a canyon while
the khaki families stared

criss-crossing 17 states,
we were never lost together –
only ever found making a beeline
for the next rich horizon,

calling home all those roads
that everyone else forgot

© Sarah Whiteley

I’ve been longing for an old-fashioned road trip lately, and it seems like the bug doesn’t hit without also missing my partner in crime from all those years ago. Ophelia was a Maine Coon kitten pulled from a trash dumpster who would grow up seeing the country from the dash of my old Buick. I sat down the other day and tried to figure out just how many miles we’d seen together, and I can say I traveled with that cat for further than I have with any human.

early morning hike

I wake well before dawn
so that I might walk
with the mist and the fog,
each of us finding
our own path up the peak

yet loving the damp bark
of the lofty cypress
in precisely the same way –
like light suddenly unbound,
eagerly embracing all
it can and cannot name

those who would say
a mountain does not breathe
have never placed their feet
where feet have not yet been –
have never found the river
that flows into the mountain
and does not come out again

© Sarah Whiteley

My newest chapbook Wandering Wonderful is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press. Pre-orders through March 22nd will have an opportunity to win a canvas print of the cover art. Click for details!