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

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hiking near the Pacific Crest Trail

thirty-two water crossings
and just shy of ten miles

later, I might discover
a jealousy of this stone

but for now I am here and
its perspective is mine –

yes, it is possible to be
both cold and cradled

for exhilaration to rise
from old bones and leaf mold

I am more I, more in
while I am without

it is life that kisses me
through creek-wet feet

© Sarah Whiteley

sleeping bears

sometimes, between the long span
of months in which I do not
think of you at all,
I briefly consider calling you up
to ask you along for a hike

for a moment, not thinking how
having you there would so alter
the trail, that what lies before
would amount to steadfast avoidance
of what should be left behind

sometimes I consider calling you,
but let’s leave it there –
leave it as we would a sleeping bear
without the thaw of spring to shake
the old frosts from her fur

© Sarah Whiteley

placid with the mountains

I cannot be the abstract
the city asks of me

I cannot maintain the grind
of teeth, of grime –

the hot seconds stuffed
into dull hours

when I do not go out,
the ghost of going out

rises within and whispers
of how the November woods

still smell of autumn –
of how the sleeping lake waits,

placid with the mountains
etched upon her face

© Sarah Whiteley

mending a friendship

for Charlie

routing earth for ants,
our quarry a queen,
it was as if the air
turned to petals
and buzzings of bees,
each of us sweet
and industrious
in the bright breaks
between rain

earlier, we’d paused
for the low darts
of the swallows
and the unexpectedness
of a dragonfly
the exact color
of a November sea

for now a small quest
and a glad yes
enough to bring us
shoulder to shoulder
in the tentative hope
of certainty and sorry

© Sarah Whiteley