the corners
where we never stood
surprise me most
with curbed whisperings
of what wasn’t
and more,
of what won’t
this is the quandary
of your ghost
shadowing me
in the places
we’ve never walked
to the streets
we won’t

© Sarah Whiteley

PS – To those wondering why I’ve been quiet on the writing-front… I’ve simply rediscovered my watercolor pencils and for now they hold my fancy. Never fear. The word wheels never stop turning completely and the cool fall air is bringing on the urge for more words. Soon.

flower thieves

thirty-nine days of rain that spring
at night we’d poach the roses
pricking our fingers for pale posies
we’d stop to pet the strays
and duck down the alleyways
past the bamboo shadows
and the fountain we could hear
whose waters we never did see
we’d pause and pluck a petal
from the magnolia down the block
and pass it as we walked between us
savoring the scent of something dark
a sweetness undefined
the wisteria dripped blue against the stones
and we’d stop for a moment and breathe
in the sweet damp of green night
together beneath the streetlights
crickets trilling in the thick patches of ivy
trailing tendrils over sidewalks and up walls
we’d plunder the gardens and pillage the trees
thirty-nine days of rain
and all those nights plucking at roses
in spite of the pain
laughing softly and sucking at sore fingers
nine springs later I pull a pink bud
from the rose in the alley
prick my fingers and smile
like it was the last time
we crept like two thieves
through the gardens at night
together beneath the streetlights
between the alleys and the rain

© Sarah Whiteley

I’m happy to say that I’m back. Back in Seattle, back to myself, and back to writing and reading. Walking the neighborhood for the past couple of days has been like one long sigh of relief and all the worries, tension, troubles of the past year are slowly lifting. Such great inner space is created when we can let go and move forward. Just in my case, moving forward meant moving back to the city I love. I can’t wait to catch up on what I’ve been missing – both here and in my city. And what better way to mark my return than with a poem about my neighborhood.

distant limbs
of absentee lovers
embrace the spaces
minutes expand
discarded sighs meet
and pass in vacant vaults
moth-white whispers
of dreams so deep asleep
they drift in shallows
among clefts of night
where fingers linger
and spread the hours
of unwaking waiting
longings scatter skies
and lights that have died
burn cool to the touch
of remembered skin
flesh-held impressions
where rapt hands
once kissed navelled bliss
the bygone glow
of tangling torsos
casts echoes of heat
wider than desire
farther than fingers
can reach

© Sarah Whiteley