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

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porchlight

it was as if all of every summer’s heat
had sunk into the worn boards of the porch

twenty years ago and I would do more
than simply sit beside you and tell tales

but here and twenty years backwards, I’ll admit
to seeing the lapsed possibility of home in you –

how the porchlight cradles your laughter
and not so much the door I can’t rush out of

without thinking if I’d only known you then
we would have been that much more

even in leaving, you’re all and everything
though everything arrives too late

even my feet, in finding their way away,
feel the impossible promise of you

© Sarah Whiteley

reading Milosz on the porch in March

it must be March –

this morning
the quince blooms
and two crows
sit on the porch rail
trading gentle preenings
between them,
beside me,
while I am sipping
rapidly cooling coffee
and reading
my tattered Milosz,
thinking about how even black
might just be luminous
when embodied by feathers
and emboldened thus
by the merest blink
of gathering Spring

© Sarah Whiteley

the house finches

the house finches have
changed their song again –
to one of fierce joy,
of emphatic nest-lust

it seems almost too soon
for such passion,
with snow still gathered,
blue in the shadows
of the north-facing stones

then again, some songs exist
simply to remind us
it may never be too soon,
yet sometimes it is
quite plainly too late

© Sarah Whiteley

have you seen how hope…

have you seen how hope
gathers at the edge of pain?

how like first light, it graces
the thin lip of the ridge
before sweeping wholesale
down the slope?

how sometimes it is slow
to gather, and even slower
to rise up over the noise
of our daily just-eking-by?

love, too, is like this –
it should spill over like time
that can’t be bound by hours,
it should shake your petals

© Sarah Whiteley

[nothing with you has been enough]

nothing with you has been enough

at 2 AM, to an audience of bricks,
I can be honest with my heart

and if I sit here long enough,
a prayer might stumble in –

something akin to what
moths find in porch-light –

I have been to-ing and fro-ing
with the consequences

but in the end, it comes to this:
we might love each other,
if only I’d forget to run

© Sarah Whiteley