no stars have come for us…

no stars have come for us

no birds align in coded message

there is only us and all the ways
I say without saying

that I am both broken
and blooming, and uncertain

how to welcome hope and despair
on such unequal footing

© Sarah Whiteley

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things I cannot tell you

I cannot tell you, for example,
that I am resting against the ache
of not seeing you rise in the morning
to sip your coffee at the window

or that the prospect of you
is the hidden sun in my throat
that glows, that pulls roots, and yes,
I would joyfully plant myself beside you

and also, I cannot tell you
that you are my favorite kind of ‘yes,’
my affirmation that the mountain
will not fall from beneath me

and that the whole of my skin
sleeps until you are near enough
to wake it – that all of me resides
inside almost, maybe, not quite

© Sarah Whiteley

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

the waiting

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the waiting creeps up
from feet, passes hips,
submerges wrists
in slippery uncertainty

naturally, the ear
strains to catch
the subtle shift of air
that marks departure

no one ever sings
through the smoke
of staying –
love and smoke both
only ever go

sometimes you
get so caught up
in the leaving,
all kisses become
eventual goodbyes

another bottle
sits on the table,
waiting for me to
swallow myself again
with pretending,

for your feet
to recede down
the front steps
down other, more
diffident streets

© Sarah Whiteley