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

losing my keys

livingston

keys lie nestled
in my right pocket
where they can remind
fingers that there
are roots to be had

connections that
cannot so easily
be pulled, no matter
the direction taken
by forgetting feet

which ride out strange
asphalts, and long
grasses, stretches
of sky so wide we
all lie swallowed by it

shadows in the valley
call out to the mountain,
where I’ll one day
just let these keys
slip out unnoticed

ah well! someone
will undoubtedly
find them and send
them on their way
back home again

© Sarah Whiteley

gone to blue

should they ask,

I have gone to blue,
I have gone to green stillnesses,
to the bright-lipped lake
where the reeds still recall

that the wanting is often
greater than ever the having,
and that some days the rift
is only the start
of a different-directioned journey

so should they ask,

I have gone back,
back to the tranquilities,
back to the waters as they were,
and as they may someday be

tell them I have gone to blue

© Sarah Whiteley

November chickadees

chickadee 20141101_123635

November chill
rusts the dogwood,
scatters the locust seeds
down the sodden street

the maple this year
shows an unusual
reluctance for red

but today gray was made
a near beautiful thing –
a frame for the darker
darts of the chickadees

in the yellow goodbye
of the chestnut tree

© Sarah Whiteley

tangible/intangible

here again is that anticipated
when of you,
more of if than of ever

and I tell myself I can picture
your bare feet
on my floorboards

convince myself I wouldn’t mind
the invasion
of my space – its sanctity

overrun by the solid reality
of an other
sweeping aside the silent hours

for tangible skin –
currently irrelevant
in intangible when

© Sarah Whiteley