a July night on the porch

all night, the rats scatter
from the ivy under the porch –
warm-furred realizations of words
like skitter, like dart

all but the one, who watches
from the narrow tract of light
between parked cars, as I wipe
the dampness from my beer
and speak again of leaving

© Sarah Whiteley

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uncertainty

I am in that space between
staying and leaving,
everything between seasons –

as if without demarcation,
Summer must linger
uncertainly at the door

wondering whether she has
found the right place,
or if the threshold

is somewhere further
down the road

© Sarah Whiteley

A big congratulations to the Wandering Wonderful giveaway winners! Christine, Garrett, and Charles have each been selected to receive a copy of my newest poetry chapbook. I’ve sent off individual emails this morning and copies of the book should be in the mail shortly.

the departed

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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

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