the hours of you that remain

we say goodnight,
then goodnight,
and once more a goodnight
of softening kisses –
just as the dawn
cracks the night

I count the hours of you
that remain to me,
and tuck them about us –
thin comfort against
the coming light

© Sarah Whiteley

Advertisements

what matter what light

what is there left to make
of this diminished light?

is this benediction? or a requiem
rung from empty throats?

what use in evading
the day’s extinction?

it is vespers, and the cantor
marks an inescapable terminus

what matter what light
is left to us?

for while there is any light at all,
benedicimus! benedicimus te! –

how wondrous the consummation,
how beautiful the end!

© Sarah Whiteley

cigarette before dawn

before dawn, I curl myself
into a single cigarette
and forget for a moment
that I am anything other than
lips, than smoke, than
the act of exhaling

when I write such things,
I am shifting the silences
into a semblance of meaning,
wrapping words around the hours
too late to be called night,
too early yet to be morning

and I am grateful for
the hard end of the bench
I press my back against
while I wait for something –
anything – to progress
beyond the gray plumes
that loop the air before me

© Sarah Whiteley

1.22.2015

and the pain was a hook she had swallowed – a bright, relentless sun which burned beneath her heart without the relief that ash would bring –

and the heat rising up from her throat carried with it the most fervent prayer for darkness that the sky had yet heard – so frightening that the moon hid herself within her shadow

oh take, take was the plea, but the pain could only give, as was its nature

the side porch sessions

earlier, a hummingbird busily
inspected the bricks, perhaps
mistaking them for other,
more sweetly yielding reds

and now Charlie, incongruously tattooed,
the color of strawberries and cream,
leans against the rail and half laughs
about the man who tried to kiss her
down at the bar

two gin and tonics in, and the dusk
rises to dark – and down the street
something has disturbed the crows
into scolding wakefulness

I am fresh from my first bad dream
of the man I’ve been seeing,
feeling frayed and fragile – but not
seeking any reassurances

a year ago, I wouldn’t have wanted
to know my neighbors this way – and yet
here I am in the middle of another side porch
session on a warm night with too many cigarettes,

trading not a few bottles and bad jokes
between these strangers who have become
somehow (sneakily) a half dozen friends
and one just-fallen-in-my-lap lover

who leans against the ivy-covered wall
and catches my eye in that all-knowing way
that says he knows me in ways
I don’t even know myself and aren’t we
just the luckiest fucking ones

© Sarah Whiteley

Hoping I don’t need to apologize for the profanity in that last line – the intent isn’t to offend, but to capture what these warm nights spent on the side porch are really like – crass, and vulgar, and full of drinking, smoking, playful banter and some surprisingly deep and meaningful conversations.

night swimming in Tulum

turtles are the only traffic here –
moving slowly landward with
the June-shadowed moon under palely
trailing feet and a torrent of stars

all day, the sea bloomed –
bursting brilliant in
white florets against the sand

but at night, the upsurge eased
and sun-brushed curves containing
all the day’s heat submerged
into cooler divulgences

© Sarah Whiteley

I have a very unofficial sort of bucket list. It changes all the time, but there are a few things that have remained constant and one of them was skinny dipping in the Caribbean. And Tulum last June was the perfect place to fulfill that particular wish – amazing experience! I’m heading back in October and am trying very hard to convince the beautiful person I call boyfriend to come along with me.

In other news, I think I’ve decided to combine Ebbtide and Tied to Sky into a single blog. Things may become a bit messy here while I play around and decide how I want to revamp the site in order to better accommodate both poetry and photography/art. My apologies in advance for the chaos.

Be well!