2.18.2015

there’s nothing quite so fine
as drinking prison wine

sitting on upturned milk crates
with an aging Boxer dog

and the best red-headed smartass
I’ve ever had the pleasure

of not completely falling for –
not like all those others

some lovers leave and others
you just can’t shake,

but none of that matters –
there’s comfort in the heft

of a good friend’s laughter
and forgetting in a bottle of rye

for those times when time
doesn’t go quite fast enough

and you can’t leave that burden behind

1.22.2015

and the pain was a hook she had swallowed – a bright, relentless sun which burned beneath her heart without the relief that ash would bring –

and the heat rising up from her throat carried with it the most fervent prayer for darkness that the sky had yet heard – so frightening that the moon hid herself within her shadow

oh take, take was the plea, but the pain could only give, as was its nature

tallying the day’s efforts – a writing exercise

woke earlier than wanted
later than I ought

could not remember
my dreams

walked the dogs
and watched the juncos

tried to write
nothing would take

sipped bad coffee
and wished for better

had no food for the chickadee
sitting on my window sill

cried for the loss
of a neighbor’s dog

listened to trees
and urged them on

grew too shy
to join in the conversation

blushed too brightly
when someone was kind

smoked too many cigarettes
and got a bit tipsy

waited for someone
who did not come

would not have been
brave enough anyway

fell asleep
tallying the day

probably won’t remember
my dreams

© Sarah Whiteley

Have decided to use this idea as a sort of writing exercise for myself. Might post a few here and there, but really it’s intended to get the internal dialogue happening – to see if I can transition into the beginnings of a poem somewhere. I have to say, it was kind of fun and yes, even a little bit fruitful.

pebbles

I have counted out the days
that do not contain you
have lined them up like pebbles
I might have pulled from the sand
salty still and glinting gray
as stones from the shore do
I imagine they must remember
the rushing kiss of tides
just as I remember how
the brush of you once stirred me
that place where once there was us
has since smoothed over
and the fissure is no longer
rough to the touch or recollection
still I have counted out the days
and will keep them with me
clattering together in deep pockets
and in the corners of drawers
to remind me of those moments
that might otherwise be gone
and I will line them up like pebbles
until I run out of room to keep them
or breath to name them

© Sarah Whiteley

And with that, I am off for a trip to see family in Wisconsin. This will be a treat (really, truly a treat) as it will be the first time we’ve all been in once place together in four years. Busy schedules and distance make it difficult to coordinate schedules, but tomorrow is my mom’s 60th birthday and what better reason to come together than to celebrate one of my favorite people in the world? See you next week!

there is something that has been lost

there is something
that has been lost
the elms tell it
when the wind is high
and twisting through
the yellow leaves with
the restless uncertainty
of long-parted lovers
and mid-arabesque a cloud
of starlings senses an absence
so suddenly they are startled
into unaccustomed silence
while daily now the birch
weep their griefs into piles
for the dark-eyed juncos
to skitter through
casting about the damp
as if to descry what it is
we have somehow missed
there is something
that has been lost
and every bright leaf
bends to remind us what
we would know it
if only we stopped
long enough to listen
if we could only
still ourselves
enough to hear
as it slips by

© Sarah Whiteley

every line is a love story

every line I write is a love story
whether I write to say my skin
remembers the imprint of your hand
as if it were there now still

or I thought for the smallest of moments
I heard your voice only to discover
it was the thrush calling out its love
for sky from the pole outside my window

even when I write simply
I stopped to buy the milk this morning
it is what is said underneath
that makes this still of love
the things that are unpenned
how as I turned the corner of the building
a man whose shoulders echoed the slope of yours
startled a joyful greeting from me
until he turned and in the early sun
I saw that he was never you
or how as I stood in the coolness
in the false light of the dairy section
I stared at the cartons of milk
and recalled how it was to have someone
to buy milk with – how it was to argue
over skim (too watery) versus whole
(the only milk worth having)
to finally compromise on two percent
(which I detest nearly as much as skim)
or how when fumbling for my card
at the register the checker
with the surprisingly kind eyes saying
‘and how are you this morning?’
I think we all know how ‘fine’
is one of the easiest lies lips can form
yes, every line a love story
I’ve placed my heart in each
whether I write my love, I love
the fit of you to me
, or perhaps just
today I opened the mailbox
and found it was empty

© Sarah Whiteley