misinterpretation

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I perched there – my hands,
my words, undelivered,
on the edge of the porch –

I could not be otherwise,
though you were a hand’s-breadth,
(a breath’s-breadth) away

why leap only to be denuded,
disabused of what I’d only hoped
your hands had meant?

perhaps I’ve spread
the interpretation of your touch
ridiculously thin,

and shaped only future regret

© Sarah Whiteley

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small birds

just here reside
small flutterings
as if the trifling ghosts
of small birds
(restless things)
pulled short of migration
had dithering paused
and remain
perching somewhere
between breast and sky
somewhere here
between you and I

© Sarah Whiteley

remembering in October

mine is not a life without sky
but like a pebble pocketed
and half forgotten
my fingers will brush
the cool smoothness of you
and be startled into sadness
for the space of a long heartbeat
or a breath lightly held
before moving on beneath
the sighing lull of yellowing trees
mine is not a life without sky
though there are times
I can feel the edges of it
following along beside
wearing your scent,
carrying your sound,
and casting our words
to the leaves at my feet

© Sarah Whiteley

home

in the hollow house
the drapes hang empty
and vases hold dust
where lilacs once were propped
by careful fingers
that chair
has always sat vacant
though the only two who knew
have gone somewhere on
the winds
have scattered weeds
into the garden
where she left rue
and forget-me-nots
at the time
without thinking of regret
or of forgetting
the clouds
have cast his shadow
from the corners
and the rains
have run her fleeting footprints
down the drive
past the evening songs
of the frogs in spring
she’d pass them
listening to the patterns
and plays of drops
on her umbrella
her mind a mass
of green and grey
the encroaching signs
of wandering
and winding wants that wakened
with the awakening earth
they grew so bright and rampant
alongside the buttercups
until her breath was tight
and pained her
and she could no longer
share her air
but there beneath the pine
above the brambles
and the sweet stars
that have long wound themselves
into the grasses
so long as he lies dreaming
she recalls the hollow house
with the crickets calling
beneath the porch
as home

© Sarah Whiteley