Once I took a man and swallowed him
up. Woods did not watch. No witnesses,
only birds, stewards of forest sleep, and eye
to earth, and teeth to tree. The man only wanted
to father. My forest eye clamped him up.
He lost all vowels with my touch. I slept
among the forest, the forest my kin,
my kind. Rage slept in my ribcage
like a rook, forking its talons against my bones,
eating away at the hollow’s hollow.
When I awoke darkness cupped the light
like a hand. My hands shook from fright
or joy; after all these years I do not know.
Stephen Scott Whitaker is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and the co-editor of The Broadkill Review. Whitaker’s poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in Oxford Poetry, Crab Creek Review, The Shore, The Rumpus, Great River Review, and others. Mulch, a novel of weird fiction, is forthcoming from Montag Press.