[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

things I cannot tell you

I cannot tell you, for example,
that I am resting against the ache
of not seeing you rise in the morning
to sip your coffee at the window

or that the prospect of you
is the hidden sun in my throat
that glows, that pulls roots, and yes,
I would joyfully plant myself beside you

and also, I cannot tell you
that you are my favorite kind of ‘yes,’
my affirmation that the mountain
will not fall from beneath me

and that the whole of my skin
sleeps until you are near enough
to wake it – that all of me resides
inside almost, maybe, not quite

© Sarah Whiteley

payment

my knowledge of you
is not free

I pay for it, as one does
with any passage –

in silences,
in glances held

in the avid awareness of you alone
amongst the crowd,

and in relinquishing
the oft-sharp joy light must feel

in falling upon
that most hallowed of curves –

that pale, beloved arch –
the back of your sweet neck

yet, I am paid back a hundredfold
with the charm of knowing

© Sarah Whiteley

boating at night

the boat of course is metaphor
though it is, undeniably, night

and fingers do trail over the side,
but also over stern and bow

it is also true that we do move as water –
that hair cascades and skin ripples

but that again is metaphor,
for which I am unapologetic

and I cannot be at all contrite
for not minding stirring up depths

or were we to drown together
beneath the moon’s regard

in fact, my heart, that may be all
that is certain and indisputable

© Sarah Whiteley

Sweet William

yesterday, I carried a sprig of Sweet William
three miles to a favorite poet’s grave
simply because you do not have one

and there, the trees were a free-for-all
of birds – oh, gorgeous, noisome riot!

some other Spring mourner before me had left
a tiny, silver “s” of a snake – something you
(poet, brother) both would have appreciated

each year, I am less clever, more gray –
but only this newspaper clipping of you ages

© Sarah Whiteley