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!

I have been pondering…

I have been pondering
the madness of love
with the thought of you
like a fat spider
perched in its web
plucking at threads
I feel the reverberations
here with a strange pang
like rising too high
too quickly above the treeline
there’s madness there
in the small bits remembered
don’t believe me? look around –
I know just where it is
you see me
in the lone moments
where you wait unwilling
to stir further
the dust that stirs itself
in that chair, just there,
with the light behind me
and the dog in my lap
it’s where I realized
it’s the biggest mistakes
sometimes that set us free
you see? madness
and madness more so
that I yet love you
with the same surety
that I know you feel
me plucking
at the silk of you

© Sarah Whiteley

I am still having vivid dreams… and am at the same time battling the mother of all head colds. It is not pleasant – and it is not easy at the moment to string together cohesive thoughts. I’m at that stage where everything tastes like cough drops and my head is stuffed full of ether-soaked cotton balls. But I woke up this morning with this still ringing in my head and felt the need to get it out. If it makes any sense at all, hooray,… if not, blame the Nyquil.

letters to _____ – vi

you should hear then
how I would want
these last words
to be let loose
like jewel-green beetles
to race the hastening day
to scatter scuttling
this final evidence
to your distant ears
love, I rise asunder
each day that wakes
upon your absence
though I am ever
there beside you
for I cannot pull
your breath from mine
nor my love
from the hands
that rightly hold it

© Sarah Whiteley

ruby-throated

here is where I begin to feel
all the familiar airs
that rush of woodsy musk
the heady hint of rum
they’ve assembled
here at thin wrists
and between breasts
to intermingle with thrums
low hums of pulse points
with infectious restlessness
and I am left as emerald-breasted
as ruby-throated as the hummingbird
we caught only glimpses of
amid the summer quince

© Sarah Whiteley

the little house in August…

the little house nestles
in the yellow grass
ringed round in whirs of songs
of endless summer insects
sits waiting silent in the soughs
quiet in the sweet airs
as they kiss their August songs
against the eaves
around the trees
and all along the stillness
of the white and wondering sills

the little house nestles
in the yellow grass
soft-rimmed in spires
and clamoring climbs
of creamy frothing roses
watches waiting in the hush
the dervish dances
of the dust-winged moths
in the faint radiance
of tumbling summer stars
around the trembling trellis
above the trees
beside the fence
and down the longing traces
of the brown and empty path

the little house nestles
in the yellow grass
watch-guarded by the pines
enshrined in vines
entwined in laurels greener
than the turning arc of spring
who flings her leaves upon the limbs
sits still and mute among the hills
rests soft beneath the dwindling sky
with thoughts of things like wistful wings
whose feathered fingers
brush the eaves
rush up the waiting steps
to sigh entreaties at a door
closed firm upon it all –

the little house nestles
in the yellow grass
sits closed upon the stillness,
and the singing summer sounds
of thrilling trilling insects,
sits closed to dancing moths,
to watching trees and wandering me
who stands in waiting
belating miles away
from the bending yellow grasses
with a pang that even August
will not mend

© Sarah Whiteley

mermaid hair

you have mermaid hair,
as he pours my coffee
and the scent of salt and sea
surprises earthy café
as if just now
I recall the slide
into the quiet cool beneath
the languid lying
amidst the silver flashes
of fishes, the surge and sway
of sea and kelp and calm
the forgotten fins
and hidden dens
in the deepest corners
of deep blue bays
I feel the float
and drift
and the measure
of time in the tides
just as surely
as if I’d never
slipped to shore

© Sarah Whiteley

a winter life

I have not
dusted them away
those days
like daffodils in December
they lie quietly
below snowy crusts
nestled deep down
in the dormant dark
beneath sparrows’
flittering feet
whose beaks seek out
the forgotten seeds
of some summer
come the day
when I am old
and remembering perhaps
what spring once was
recalling
with a clarity of mind
only long years
can provide
I will brush aside
the snow
sweep away
the layers of leaves
and dried-up weeds
time has piled
upon us
and coax the days
into greening
once more

© Sarah Whiteley

it does not suffice

I cannot rise
from this bewildered bed
to moons
you do not wander beneath
to stars
that do not light
the tread of your feet
on the stairs
I cannot rise
to the familiar roads
brushed by the winds
you do not follow
and wonder
that you will never
pass these plains again
I cannot rise
to span this cavity
without the breath of you
beside me
I cannot rise
wrapped in remembering
against never
it does not suffice

© Sarah Whiteley

fireflies of summer

bare-footed imps,
we dashed
through grass
skinny leaping legs
and blasts of laughter
hounding phantom trails
flashes of fire
beneath the trees
shrill got one!
bright bulbs
tap the glass
of those summer jars
while crickets
scratched applause
giddy grins
and scraped shins
and the small triumph
of catching hold
of fire
gleefully unknowing
those warm nights
would be fleeting
like moths that ghost
the stars
and not like fireflies
trapped in jars

© Sarah Whiteley