the whip-poor-will chimes The oaks and pines swallow me as I walk into the woods. The air is spiced and tangy, a single breath of bloom and death against my skin. Sprawling moss and outstretched ferns absorb me in their belly of green; enzymes digest my guises. Aged trees, wooden bodies crossing in the canopy, groan at guard. The whip-poor-will chimes and I— Cellar spiders float on glimmering tines; copperheads, camouflaged, glide—and I— The whip-poor-will chimes and I— I can no longer spin or molt this haunted, holy skin. The whip-poor- will chimes.
Natalie Callum is a writer and poet living between St. Louis, Missouri and Wyoming. When she is not writing, she can be found outside free climbing and exploring with her much beloved husband.