mending a friendship

for Charlie

routing earth for ants,
our quarry a queen,
it was as if the air
turned to petals
and buzzings of bees,
each of us sweet
and industrious
in the bright breaks
between rain

earlier, we’d paused
for the low darts
of the swallows
and the unexpectedness
of a dragonfly
the exact color
of a November sea

for now a small quest
and a glad yes
enough to bring us
shoulder to shoulder
in the tentative hope
of certainty and sorry

© Sarah Whiteley

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June crows

four crows in the June grass
watch me watching them
from my bright blanket,
while the fifth plucks sprigs
of blooms from the chestnut

an all-at-once wind teases
white petals into yellow light –
a sudden floral flotilla
and the fifth crow flies with one,
two, three sprouted sprigs

and I from my bright blanket
reaching into the world –
admiring the petals,
yet never wondering
who the bouquet is for

© Sarah Whiteley

last evening in May

the last evening in May
and the dogs are still,
stretched beside the window

as still as the trees
whose wind momentarily
has no urge to prove itself

the light nearly gone,
still there is a lone
hummingbird in the plum

and two house finches
gazing outwards, sitting
squat in the window box

I smell rain tonight,
and the spice remaining
from tonight’s dinner

on the dogs’ last walk
this last evening in May,
we’ll see the Sound

and on the far side will be
mountains, which I know remain
snowy behind their clouds

© Sarah Whiteley

I go out

I go out, and come back –
to the low voices of everyday
concrete saying stay,
voices that are each time fainter

I go out, and come back –
in sun, in mist, in rain –
and each time the tether
is less, and closer to temporary

each time the river’s shout
grows louder and I am more
cedar and stone, more
singing creek and warbler

I go out, and I am more
simply by being less

© Sarah Whiteley

porchlight

it was as if all of every summer’s heat
had sunk into the worn boards of the porch

twenty years ago and I would do more
than simply sit beside you and tell tales

but here and twenty years backwards, I’ll admit
to seeing the lapsed possibility of home in you –

how the porchlight cradles your laughter
and not so much the door I can’t rush out of

without thinking if I’d only known you then
we would have been that much more

even in leaving, you’re all and everything
though everything arrives too late

even my feet, in finding their way away,
feel the impossible promise of you

© Sarah Whiteley

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