we could both go golden

if my last day would perish
so beautifully as this,

I would not mind at all

we could both go golden then,
full of road and sky moments

me following this light,
lighter and no longer envious

of “as the crow flies”

© Sarah Whiteley

Photo taken east of Snoqualmie Pass overlooking Cle Elum Lake

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somewhere else

today everything I know
is somewhere else

except that the ivy has been
trying to come through window

I remember the last time
I crawled through a window

that was Mexico though,
with the moon low over the sea

and the slow procession of
turtles moving up the beach

today everything I want to know
is somehow elsewhere

tangled up in the pink
of the bougainvillea

© Sarah Whiteley

roundabouts nowhere

the question, always the same,
and the answer is that there are
so many blessed nowheres

she says she’ll have to find me
when I finally get that car,
when I finally succumb to go

she knows that I can write about birds
for only so long before I myself fly –
after so many years feeling
stuck and prayerless

the answer isn’t to find me
or to seek anything anywhere –
but if you begin to look for me,
try roundabouts nowhere

© Sarah Whiteley

wildness is a necessity

when, as now, the city leans too close –
all cloying constructs, relentless cement

send to me a comfort of simple pine,
send to me an endurance of wind-bent cedar,

give to me the remoteness of ridgelines
and a full solace of placid tarns

what Muir meant made blazingly clear
with each leaden municipal minute

wildness is a necessity

© Sarah Whiteley

after Livingston

that August in Livingston,
we meant just me
and the small dog tracing
the bends in the river
into the far edge of afternoon

one of us thinking of rolling
ourselves into the landscape
for keeps just for the peace,
the other enthralled
by sudden bursts of magpies

all these years after,
I never did find the right shade
to fade into and can’t shake
the sense of going the wrong
way against the river now

as if home had quietly
washed itself downstream
and settled on a sandbar –
lopsided and forsaken

© Sarah Whiteley

the traveler, starting young

rails-768427_1280

I never was in so much trouble
as that time I vanished down the tracks,
losing sight of the afternoon,
small shoes balanced on the ties,
walking into evening between the rails

even at that age I could name goldenrod
and dog rose, Queen Anne’s lace and sumac –
could pick out moths from butterflies –
but had not yet discovered the word
for that unrelenting itch to wander

but mother knew the word and four miles later,
I was spanked all the harder
for the future loss of her daughter
who would disappear along the tracks
to find solace down some dusty road

© Sarah Whiteley