the whip-poor-will chimes – a poem by Natalie Callum

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. 

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