the departed

bedroom-1082262_640

your departure has the weight of ash

no longer carrying your fate,
I return to my old shape

days hold their same complexities
but night has become startlingly simple –

rucked sheets, wooden bed-frame –
there’s no need to believe in anything else

how is it that you ever fit
inside these walls? inside this time?

I was never a promise –
my hands, my breasts, my breathing –

are sovereign and whole

© Sarah Whiteley

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the reason why

if I needed a reason
to pace the floor,
pass by the door a fifth,
tenth, fourteenth time,
to check the gas,
to raise the windows,
to create just a little more
space for the dark
to slip into

if I needed a reason
to count the passing dogs
with impatient owners
hurrying them home,
to touch again the spines
of books whose pages
have kept their silences
firmly to themselves
and failed to distract me

if I needed a reason
to press my ear
nearer to the air
we shared,
to wait fruitlessly
on footfalls in the hallway
to pass, to pause,
to toe the crack
at the bottom of my door

if I needed a reason
to twist and spin
myself into a thread
thin and taut, fraught
with all the things
we wait to occur
while all our actions
compounded, amount to
a paralyzing passivity

if I needed a reason
to box up all these hours,
to cut these ties
and stop the gainless pacing,
to close my eyes,
and finally close then
the window blinds –
you didn’t stop by to ask it,

and that’s the reason why

© Sarah Whiteley

making things work

tonight just the hint-est of moons
and my own breath to obscure it
the cold makes my hands hurt
as I fumble in my pocket
feeling for the surety of keys

someone today, in no doubt naïveté,
informed me I must not have wanted
to love him or I would have
found a way to make things work

as if somehow by forcing the faucet
to open all the wider more than air
would descend into that cracked sink
in spite of the break in the water main

I didn’t have the breath left to tell her
ain’t nothing that easy, but either she’ll
write that chapter for herself or bleed out
shaving off bits of herself to make things fit
that just weren’t meant to be

© Sarah Whiteley

remembering you forgetting me

here, just now, I’ve recalled
how mine are companionless hands
and how the heart curls inward of late,
cradling the curiosity of contrition
in spite of knowing with certainty
I am far more whole now
than I was while trying to fit
bits of you into places
that could not trust the intrusion

dearest love (for you remain thus),
yours will ever be the heart
to which mine responds in kind,
and though we are far beyond bearing
this distance is as none at all
I will rise and break at each cold day
remembering you forgetting me
but hearing more in your silence
than what forgetting conveys

© Sarah Whiteley