Tag: memory

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thinking of those days behind the wheel, cat stretched across the dash, exemption stretched out along straight, gray highways trying now not to swallow that hook, though lately it seems the city hates me, shoves me toward her swilled-to-the-gill gutters back then, there was the … Continue reading *

the skill of forgetting

the skill of forgetting –
more than a little like whittling –

slow and methodical,
always the blade pointed away

from a body, lightly curled
over the casually dwindling medium

those of us who have become
proficient at this

have learned even to hum a bit –
something slightly off-key,

off-kilter, with words long ago
lost to rag-quilt memory,

something once buried,
but half-summoned up

by letting fly the shavings,
paring away moments most aggrieved

© Sarah Whiteley

2.16.2015

I can’t forget that day the hummingbird

darted through the snow – you slept through it –

content with the dogs in a patch of morning sunlight,

which found and stroked the red-gold stubble on your cheeks

the way I wished that I might without breaking your sleep

2.10.2015

these things cannot yet be called memory –
too fresh, too new, too aware of their own being
to be relegated to the corners of ponderous afternoons

how that spring you sprouted, sudden and furious
in the sanctum of breast, winnowing tendrilled
assurances around and about these willing ribs

until my breath became as entangled in yours
as any two rapturous vines spurred on by the warmth
and wild insistence of an inveterate sun

but like the dark ivy you so often tugged from off
the stolid bricks, you wrenched all our entwinements away,
though still I feel the green sap of you – sticky and stinging

as sharp-scented as if you’d never left

down east

it was late November
when I drove toward Maine

I still hear how the wind
tore across the highway,
rattling doors and nearly
blowing that tired red Buick
into the frozen ditch

I had second, third – hell
sixth thoughts on the other
side of the state line,
but I kept right on –

forward was the only
way left even though
the pines all pointed
back the other direction

a body ought to listen
to things like weather
and the wind and when
either one isn’t at your back,

it might be that’s a sign
you should turn right around
and that just maybe somewhere
down around western Mass

a right instead of that left
might not have inflicted the kinds
of change that would alter the slant
of a year’s share of wakeful nights

but winter’s nothing way up there
if not a lesson, and my toes
nearly froze during that storm
when I tried to find my way

five miles on foot up that hill
to somewhere never home
through fourteen inches of snow
in flimsy shoes with branches
dropping shrapnel all around –

a few other things nearly
froze over, trust included,
and it’s a wonder I thawed
out at all and can carry on

as if it was nothing more
than a freak nor’easter moving
through or a turn in the wrong
direction against the wind’s advice
two hundred or so miles back

down east was the only place
I’ve ever had to lie to live
or pick a lock to save my own skin
five degrees below zero –

twenty minutes spent just chipping
at that ice to use a bent hanger –
something I used to think only
worked in the movies but prayed
to God it could be otherwise

in the end hope won out
and I fled west with a new
appreciation for thick soles
and the warnings pine trees
and a good strong wind
might heap at a vagrant’s feet

but these are the things
I don’t speak of

and thank-the-lord don’t often
think of, save now and again
when a freezing wind
rattles at my windows –

some frenzied remnant
fighting to be let back in
and sometimes –
the old familiar ice still
finds a way beneath the sill

© Sarah Whiteley

Know this is outside of my norm, but have been wanting to clean the cobwebs out of this particular closet for a while now. Wrote this years ago and never posted it as it never felt “right” – but have reached the moment when I’ll tweak and peck it at no more. And in return, it will tweak and peck at ME no more!

mileposts

6:57 AM and light’s early overture
has warmed the cherry petals just enough
that the faintest scent of sweet emerges

maybe it’s more than just scribbling poets
who note these moments and mark the time,
mentally ticking off the mileposts to restoration

but this morning’s note is more than that –
today’s surfacing defines a full ten years,
and the cherry trees have bloomed to remind me

when my bus crosses John Street, I lose it –
cry quietly against the window at sunlight
pushing obdurately through the newest leaves

but by tiny degrees, I still find comfort
in the indomitable certainty that gently-scented,
spring will always return where you cannot

© Sarah Whiteley

A little sad today – marking the 10-year anniversary of losing my little brother. Don’t think I made a complete fool of myself on the bus – at least I hope not. I do find the cherry trees comforting. The bloom does go on.

On a side note, I do not recommend beginning spring by simultaneously breaking your toe and ripping the toenail off. Can we say ouch?! Yes,… yes we can. With a few other choice four-letter words thrown in for good measure!

now

I love this now,
and this one,
and the now I carried
with me then,
when stumbling
upon that field
rampant with sunflowers
so bent upon echoing
the brilliancy of day,
they pressed themselves
flush against the belly
of the yellowing sky

and like photographs
of loved ones,
I tuck my nows
between book pages,
so that some days
when I do not like
a particular now,
an old one might come
tumbling out and ask
to sit and reminisce

© Sarah Whiteley

Just a quick thank you for all the support and positive energy around the release of my chapbook, No Direction But Home. I’ve set up a dedicated page (see Available Books above) which provides both a link to Amazon as well as a link to the Paypal option should you wish to have a signed copy.